YouTubers earning five or six figures grew 40 per cent in 2018

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki says the platform will evolve with more news, learning resources and fundraising content in 2019.

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki revealed in a blog post Tuesday that the number of creators earning five or six figures on the platform grew by more than 40 per cent in 2018. Channels with over one million subscribers also nearly doubled in the last year.

“You’re creating the next generation of media companies and we’re thrilled to see how much the YouTube creator economy is thriving,” wrote Wojcicki, who also acknowledged the company’s misstep in the production of its highly-criticized 2018 Rewind video.

“Even at home, my kids told me our 2018 Rewind was “cringey.” We hear you that it didn’t accurately show the year’s key moments, nor did it reflect the YouTube you know. We’ll do better to tell our story in 2019,” said Wojcicki.

Wojcicki outlines YouTube’s top priorities for 2019: Supporting creator and artist success; improving communication and engagement; and living up to the platform’s responsibility.

The platform’s evolving monetization strategy includes improving classifiers for individual videos after brand safety issues, highlighted by popular YouTube vlogger Logan Paul, posting a video of a dead body in Japan’s Suicide Forest.

“Just as a reminder, we started last year with many of our largest advertisers paused because of brand safety concerns. We worked incredibly hard to build the right systems and tools to make sure advertisers feel confident investing in YouTube, and most are now back,” writes Wojcicki. “We’ve increased the accuracy of the monetization icon by 40% and are also making it easier for creators to appeal when we make the wrong call. But there’s still more work to do on both of these fronts and we’re committed to getting it right for everyone.”

Wojcicki also notes the expansion of YouTube Music and YouTube Premium, now available in 29 countries, up from just five at the beginning of 2018. The platform has also added revenue diversification tools like Super Chat, Channel Memberships, Merchandise, and Ticketing.

One of YouTube’s focus areas is to continue to quickly and effectively remove content that violates the platform’s Community Guidelines. In Q3 2018 alone, 50.2 million videos were removed, the majority for spam or adult content. Last month, the platform updated guidance to creators, indicating it’s stepping up enforcement around dangerous challenges and pranks and released a video clarifying how profanity affects monetization.

Looking ahead to 2019, Wojcicki highlights the platform’s increased focus as a destination for news, education and giving.

“One key effort is the Google News Initiative YouTube innovation funding program, announced last summer. Hundreds of organizations submitted proposals and we awarded grants to 87 recipients to help them build up their video capabilities. We also expanded our breaking news shelf and top news shelves to 31 countries and look forward to expanding them even further this year.”

Introduced last year, YouTube’s Learning Fund awarded grants to 65 creators, who will develop multi-session learning content for the platform. YouTube will also continue its EduCon conferences, with the first event of 2019 in the UK this month. In 2018, 450 creators attended EduCon events in the U.S., Mexico, Brazil and India.

On the fundraising front, more than 40 creators worked together in 2018 to benefit eight charities with YouTube Giving, including the first annual #YouTubeGiving Week in November.

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