Turning to YouTube to generate an income

Youtube is the second most popular social media platform and has 2 billion active users worldwide. (Statista, 2019)


KUALA LUMPUR: It is no secret that the entertainment industry has taken a battering as a result of Covid-19 but some enterprising local artistes and production houses have already turned to YouTube to generate a steady income for themselves.

Among the local artistes who have huge presence on YouTube are Danny AhBoy with over 100 million video views last year, Yuna with over 20.8 million views and Datuk Seri Siti Nurhaliza with more than 3.9 million views.

According to estimates by various social media sites, Siti Nurhaliza’s YouTube channel generates an income of about RM1,200 to RM18,400 a year while another local singer Shila Amzah receives about RM9,400 to RM151,000 a year from her account.

YouTubers can enable monetisation of their YouTube accounts by partnering with the California, United States-based online video-sharing platform and create various income streams, including revenue from advertisements displayed on their respective channels. 

YouTube is open to any creator wishing to showcase their talent as long as the content meets the guidelines set by the platform.

Shifting to YouTube

62% of businesses use YouTube as a channel to post video content. YouTube is watched by people every day for up to 1 billion hours of video, generating billions of views. (Buffer, 2019)

Popular actor, producer and entrepreneur Datuk Rosyam Nor, whose real name is Mohamed Noor Shamsuddin, said the incomes of local artistes have been affected with entertainment shows as well as movies and drama production came to a halt during the movement control order.

“What they should do now to generate an income for themselves is to showcase their creativity on videos and upload them on their ‘own channel’ on YouTube for people to watch,” he said.

Rosyam also said that times have changed and the transition from television to YouTube has become an accepted norm as more viewers seek entertainment content on YouTube rather than mainstream television channels.  

In the past, he told Bernama, artistes would wait for offers to perform on television or act in films and dramas “but we can’t run away from the changes that are taking place and Malaysian artistes have to embrace it. Otherwise, they will not only be left behind but their incomes will suffer too”.

Urging them to use their talent and creative ideas to make their own video productions with their mobile phone, Rosyam said he himself has produced a short film titled Warung Kami, the story for which was inspired by the challenges he went through when he first started his own business. The film was aired on YouTube last year.

Challenges and obstacles

He, however, warned that life as a YouTuber and the battle for viewership can be challenging as one would have to face intense competition from not only fellow YouTubers in Malaysia but the rest of the world as well.

“With a mobile phone and Internet service, anyone can produce footage that they can upload on YouTube … in fact, hundreds of new content are being made available on the Internet every minute,” he said, adding that the upside of stiff competition is that it sparks higher levels of creativity among netizens.

Rosyam, who is the managing director of Suhan Movies and Trading Sdn Bhd, said seasoned artistes may have an edge over newbies on the YouTube platform as they already have their very own legion of fans.

He said that the broadcasting industry was also heading towards the same direction as the print media and that some television stations are already making preparations to join the digital media by airing selected programmes on their YouTube channels.

He said there has also been a downward trend in television advertisement placements due to the shift in viewership to YouTube and other social media platforms.

“It’s cheaper for advertisers to place their ads on YouTube or Facebook where their ads are displayed more often. 

“Furthermore, due to the availability of data (including demographic information) on Internet users accessing various sites, it is possible for advertisers to target their ads at the right audience,” he explained.

Steady revenue stream

To compete with other competitors in monetising from YouTube, strategic planning is crucial as there are 500 hours of videos uploaded to YouTube every minute worldwide (Tubefilter,2019)

Les’Copaque Production managing director Burhanuddin Md Razi agreed that television is no longer the medium of choice for people who want to access broadcast content.

Burhanuddin, whose company produced the hit animation series Upin & Ipin, said the YouTube platform may, currently, be the best option for artistes and production houses to market their works.

“Most animation studios in Malaysia used to depend on television stations as a source of income but in 2018, the situation changed when the stations started sourcing for cheaper animation programmes from overseas.

“They said the local animation series were expensive as it cost them between RM25,000 and RM40,000 while it only cost them about RM15,000 to buy a foreign animation series,” he said.  

His animation studio started using YouTube actively for its productions from 2018 onwards. The popularity of its Upin & Ipin, for example, skyrocketed after it was streamed on YouTube, with the total number of views now touching four billion and subscribers exceeding 10 million worldwide.

“It has been generating a steady source of income for us during the MCO period,” said Burhanuddin, adding that his company earned about RM735,000 a month from YouTube last year.   

It was reported last month that Les’ Copaque Production’s YouTube channel was awarded the Diamond Play Button by the video-sharing platform after reaching 10 million subscribers.

As of February 2020, only 566 YouTube channels globally had reached the 10 million subscriber milestone.

Les’ Copaque Production’s other works include Puteri, Pada Zaman Dahulu and DaDuDiDo. – Bernama