Making Money on YouTube

In a session moderated by Jeannine Michaelsen, YouTube star LeFloid, Jens-Uwe Bornemann (Freemantle Media/UFA), social-media agency TLGG strategist Xi Chen, and fashion designer and vlogger Melissa Lee discussed the question of how to make money through YouTube. The number of consumers on YouTube grows by 50 per cent annually. Last week, a YouTube Creator Space – a studio offering a number of sets – opened in Berlin. An increasing number of professional creators want to earn money through YouTube. But not all successful web-video producers are driven by the prospect of advertising income. With more than 2.3 million subscribers, LeFloid is among Germany’s most successful YouTubers. He belongs to the 301+ group of video producers, which calls itself a “circle of friends” and puts the highest priority on the content itself: “It makes a difference whether you have content that’s good enough to earn money, or you’re only producing in order to earn money.”

Melissa Lee regards a producer’s close relationship to his or her viewers, not the quality of the content, as a guarantee of success. “YouTube has changed producers’ views of themselves, because the platforms function differently than previous formats,” said Jens-Uwe Bornemann. He wants to provide more fictional content and show formats, he added. For Xi Chen, one thing was clear: “YouTube changes the traditional view of a brand. Its image is shaped by the social interactions and relationships it’s involved in. Brand communication is becoming more content-heavy and people-focused than ever before.” In this regard, Bornemann sees a platform’s authenticity as being crucial for marketing. Lee argued that from her perspective, “YouTube Germany is still in the puberty stage.” It’s now important, she said, to leave behind the current glut of product placement, and create more genuinely good content.