Making videos for YouTube – for three years a pastime for millions of Web surfers – is now a way to make a living.
One year after YouTube, the online video powerhouse, invited members to become “partners” and added advertising to their videos, the most successful users are earning six-figure incomes from the Web site.
For some, like Michael Buckley, the self-taught host of a celebrity chatter show, filming funny videos is now a full-time job.
Buckley quit his day job in September after his online profits had greatly surpassed his salary as an administrative assistant for a music promotion company. His thrice-a-week online show “is silly,” he said, but it has helped him escape his credit-card debt.
All he needed was a $2,000 Canon camera, a $6 piece of fabric for a backdrop and a pair of work lights from Home Depot. Buckley is an example of the Internet’s democratizing effect on publishing.
Sites like YouTube allow anyone with a high-speed connection to find a fan following, simply by posting material and promoting it online.
Granted, building an audience online takes time. “I was spending 40 hours a week on YouTube for over a year before I made a dime,” Buckley said – but, at least in some cases, it is paying off.
YouTube declined to comment on how much money partners earned on average, partly because advertiser demand varies for different kinds of videos.
But a spokesman, Aaron Zamost, said “hundreds of YouTube partners are making thousands of dollars a month.” At least a few are making a full-time living: Buckley said he was earning over $100,000 from YouTube advertisements.
Photo by YouTube.