Solent University Guest Lecturer
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YouTube will be 15 years old next February. What started out as a place for cat videos and tutorials on how to fix your kitchen sink has become a multi-billion-pound industry. Becoming a ‘YouTuber’ is the top career aspiration by school-aged children according to recent surveys; not an astronaut, doctor or teacher! It seems that a whole generation may have online video aspirations but can you make a living from YouTube? Is it as easy as your favourite vloggers make out? What skills and personal qualities do you need to make it? Will university help or hinder your career chances? Let’s discuss!!








My name is David Reilly and I’m a Senior Lecturer in Journalism at Solent University in Southampton. I have worked at ITV News for nearly two decades but I recently started researching YouTube by creating a channel which earned two national awards and over a million views.
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Anonymous #1
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You can, but it's extremely difficult. I've had a channel for nearly 2 years and I have never made a penny from it. I know of people with 300k subs who make no money. It's tough - just be a doctor.
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Denver1
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personally I think u don't, u just get lucky and get really famous.....
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GeolPhysics
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I used to have a youtube channel for 9 years, it only collected 704 subs though and I couldn't make a single dime. Made piano videos on that channel. I've deleted it now.
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Blue_Cow
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(Original post by Solent University Guest Lecturer)
YouTube will be 15 years old next February. What started out as a place for cat videos and tutorials on how to fix your kitchen sink has become a multi-billion-pound industry. Becoming a ‘YouTuber’ is the top career aspiration by school-aged children according to recent surveys; not an astronaut, doctor or teacher! It seems that a whole generation may have online video aspirations but can you make a living from YouTube? Is it as easy as your favourite vloggers make out? What skills and personal qualities do you need to make it? Will university help or hinder your career chances? Let’s discuss!!








My name is David Reilly and I’m a Senior Lecturer in Journalism at Solent University in Southampton. I have worked at ITV News for nearly two decades but I recently started researching YouTube by creating a channel which earned two national awards and over a million views.
It's like acting. Only a small subset of people manage to make a decent living off YouTube, and you have to stay relevant as well. If you don't keep up with the trends, then you simply lose viewers, especially in gaming.

A good example would be the Minecraft YouTubers back in the Minecraft heyday ~2011/12, a lot of them are now irrelevant yet have 1m+ subscribers, but their videos only have a fraction of the views upon upload.
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SuperHuman98
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Depends you obviously need something that brings value to peoples lives, and is unique to what's already out there.

But it's best to just do something because you enjoy it not because you want to be famous or make loads of money.

Or you can be like Dr Mike... be a successful doctor and a Youtuber
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DiddyDecAlt
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It is possible but very hard work and a lot of luck.

Ad-pocalypse has made it a lot more difficult.
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Solent University Guest Lecturer
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Great posts, everyone, thanks for getting involved! I'm going to answer all of the questions on this thread, so if you have one...write away!! I'm here all week!!
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Solent University Guest Lecturer
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(Original post by Anonymous)
You can, but it's extremely difficult. I've had a channel for nearly 2 years and I have never made a penny from it. I know of people with 300k subs who make no money. It's tough - just be a doctor.
anonymous #1Ha ha, you don't HAVE to be a doctor! Making a successful YouTube channel requires a lot of hard work and you need to have the right content and think about your audience. YouTube have got stricter with their monetising recently (you now need 1,000 subs and 4,000 hours of watch time a year to earn cash) but if you're getting near to that you're well on your way and can make some good money. I don't know how someone with 300k subs wasn't making money, unless they bought their subscribers?!! I was making money before I had 100 subscribers.
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Solent University Guest Lecturer
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(Original post by Denver1)
personally I think u don't, u just get lucky and get really famous.....
Denver1 I don't think it's all down to luck at all. If you're passionate, ambitious, hard-working and have a bit of talent you can make it on YouTube! In fact, that's the recipe for success in every area of life/work!! Some people catch a break early on but most huge YouTubers have been grinding out videos/content for a decade before they "make it!"

One way to get ahead on others is to train up and learn the skills needed for YouTube: technical skills, plus storytelling theory. Funnily enough, you can get those from a university degree - you'll be surprised at how practical Journalism courses are now.
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Solent University Guest Lecturer
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(Original post by GeolPhysics)
I used to have a youtube channel for 9 years, it only collected 704 subs though and I couldn't make a single dime. Made piano videos on that channel. I've deleted it now.
GeolPhysics That's a shame. Did you actively promote your content, interact with your audience and keep pushing yourself in every video? Was it amazing content that could go viral? To make a living from YouTube you can't just sit back and wait for people to come to you. Even if your content is AMAZING, you still have to play the game and network online and offline. It's a shame you've deleted it, I'd have loved to watch one your piano vids!!
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DiddyDecAlt
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(Original post by Solent University Guest Lecturer)
Great posts, everyone, thanks for getting involved! I'm going to answer all of the questions on this thread, so if you have one...write away!! I'm here all week!!
What is your view on YouTube not publishing the actual rules on what content can and cannot be monitized?

I know this has been a particular issue for gun channels which do not violate Terms of Service but cannot be monitized due to unwritten rules.
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CTLeafez
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(Original post by DiddyDecAlt)
What is your view on YouTube not publishing the actual rules on what content can and cannot be monitized?

I know this has been a particular issue for gun channels which do not violate Terms of Service but cannot be monitized due to unwritten rules.
Reminds me of FPS Russia... I wonder whatever happened to that guy. I heard a rumour his guns got confiscated or something
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DiddyDecAlt
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(Original post by CTLeafez)
Reminds me of FPS Russia... I wonder whatever happened to that guy. I heard a rumour his guns got confiscated or something
I think there were some licensing issues around his collection, he wasn't even Russian.
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GeolPhysics
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(Original post by Solent University Guest Lecturer)
GeolPhysics That's a shame. Did you actively promote your content, interact with your audience and keep pushing yourself in every video? Was it amazing content that could go viral? To make a living from YouTube you can't just sit back and wait for people to come to you. Even if your content is AMAZING, you still have to play the game and network online and offline. It's a shame you've deleted it, I'd have loved to watch one your piano vids!!
I had a video that had 1.6 million views but that's the only one that went viral. I deleted it as well. I felt like I was spending too much time every day checking my youtube for increase of views. I actually uploaded that video again but now it's only got about 200 views. I'm the first pianist in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cURuSe4q-J8 I did promote every video on Reddit forums and Google+ circles (which doesn't exist now). It was great to have a few thousand views per video.
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CTLeafez
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(Original post by DiddyDecAlt)
I think there were some licensing issues around his collection, he wasn't even Russian.
Next you’re gonna tell me Zoella didn’t actually write her book! 😂
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DiddyDecAlt
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(Original post by CTLeafez)
Next you’re gonna tell me Zoella didn’t actually write her book! 😂
I don't want to break your heart.
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(Original post by Solent University Guest Lecturer)
anonymous #1Ha ha, you don't HAVE to be a doctor! Making a successful YouTube channel requires a lot of hard work and you need to have the right content and think about your audience. YouTube have got stricter with their monetising recently (you now need 1,000 subs and 4,000 hours of watch time a year to earn cash) but if you're getting near to that you're well on your way and can make some good money. I don't know how someone with 300k subs wasn't making money, unless they bought their subscribers?!! I was making money before I had 100 subscribers.
Haha, I believe she just has to use copyrighted music :confused: Silly girl x
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Solent University Guest Lecturer
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(Original post by Blue_Cow)
It's like acting. Only a small subset of people manage to make a decent living off YouTube, and you have to stay relevant as well. If you don't keep up with the trends, then you simply lose viewers, especially in gaming.

A good example would be the Minecraft YouTubers back in the Minecraft heyday ~2011/12, a lot of them are now irrelevant yet have 1m+ subscribers, but their videos only have a fraction of the views upon upload.
Blue_Cow This is very true, YouTubers need to adapt and change with their audience. It's like any show business career, how many boybands from the 90s/2000s are still relevant today (not including reunion tours/PR gimmicks), which film stars have disappeared over the years?

This is why I would suggest that anyone looking to make a career out of YouTube has a good education/degree/apprenticeship/work to fall back on. You wouldn't put all of your eggs into one basket if you're hoping to be an international football star, Hollywood actor or pop princess - you should treat YouTube in a similar way. There are ways you can add to your income while YouTubing but that's probably for another discussion!!
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(Original post by Solent University Guest Lecturer)
YouTube will be 15 years old next February. What started out as a place for cat videos and tutorials on how to fix your kitchen sink has become a multi-billion-pound industry. Becoming a ‘YouTuber’ is the top career aspiration by school-aged children according to recent surveys; not an astronaut, doctor or teacher! It seems that a whole generation may have online video aspirations but can you make a living from YouTube? Is it as easy as your favourite vloggers make out? What skills and personal qualities do you need to make it? Will university help or hinder your career chances? Let’s discuss!!








My name is David Reilly and I’m a Senior Lecturer in Journalism at Solent University in Southampton. I have worked at ITV News for nearly two decades but I recently started researching YouTube by creating a channel which earned two national awards and over a million views.
yes and no (for what i want to do on YouTube yes because it will actually be useful for society (can't tell you my dream though))
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