YouTube has released a new report highlighting the company's contribution to the global economy, with its YouTube Partner Program (YPP) currently supporting over 2 million creators and providing $10 billion in direct creator payments each year.
The report, which was created in collaboration with Oxford Economics, gives an overview of YouTube's beneficial influence on many people who have been able to transform their passions into jobs through YouTube clips. This comes at a time when increasing doubts are being raised about social media's overall usefulness and if it is genuinely good for society, with Facebook, in particular, in the news this week due to the recent Facebook Files expose.
YouTube has also been questioned. The site has been chastised for failing to prohibit anti-vax propaganda from spreading, for encouraging the spread of extremist content, and for failing to do more to counteract the potential harms caused by content amplified by its algorithms.
This adds to the intrigue of this report - according to YouTube:
“Despite lockdowns that interrupted so many parts of the creative industries throughout 2020, Oxford Economics’ research found that YouTube’s creative ecosystem supported 394,000 full-time equivalent jobs in the US, an increase of 14% over 2019. In fact, the total contribution of YouTube’s creative ecosystem to the US GDP was $20.5 billion in 2020, a 23% increase over 2019.”
It's difficult to deny the platform's advantages in this regard. Of course, this isn't to say that YouTube isn't having a detrimental effect in some ways, but when you take into account the broader economic benefits and new career paths that the app has enabled, it offers an interesting counterpoint to the current narrative, as well as more nuance to the questions about the benefits and impacts of broader social media usage.
Indeed, all social media platforms are attempting to introduce their own monetization strategies, most of which are modeled after YouTube's YPP. That will give creators even more opportunities to directly monetize their passions - and while not everyone will be able to do so despite such tools, the possibilities are now larger than ever.
“If all platforms shared revenue with creators the way that YouTube does, there’s tremendous potential for the creator economy to rival Hollywood in terms of economic impact and job creation, just as it does in terms of cultural influence.”
The report emphasizes these advantages, and while this does not negate the negative consequences, it is important recognizing the huge advantages that social platforms offer, such as improved social connection, community development, relationship benefits, and more.
In any case, it's an intriguing report – the whole "State of the Creator Economy" report can be found here.