Maker Studios is one of YouTube’s biggest and most-successful content creators, with more than 160 full-time staff. When YouTube started dishing out $100 million last year for new channels, as part of an effort to generate more than 25 original hours of programming, Maker “won” three of those new channels. The reason YouTube is investing all that money up front is that even for a success story like Maker, the economics of producing a profitable channel are tight.
Maker cranks out about 300 YouTube videos each month at a bare-bones cost of about $1,000 each.
The studio’s videos generate a whopping 500 million views each month, thanks largely to established hits that include Ray William Johnson’s roundup of crazy videos and such viral giants as “Epic Rap Battles of History.”
Advertisers pay up to $10 per thousand views for video ads that precede the featured content, according to TubeMogul, a major buyer of YouTube ads for the nation’s biggest advertisers including Proctor & Gamble Co. and News Corp.’s 20th Century Fox movie studio.
Established YouTube partners share roughly half of their revenue with the site. So if Maker videos generate $1 or $2 in ad revenue per thousand views, it would just be scraping by.