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Video Pros Offers Tips for Making a Living on YouTube

"YouTube's growing up -- very quickly," said video pioneer Kevin "Nalts" Nalty in a panel discussion called "Making a Living on YouTube" at the recent Streaming Media East conference in New York City. The challenge is to keep up with YouTube, he said, to adapt; to not just see where the video space is now, but where it's going to be.

The panel covered a variety of topics that go into treating YouTube as a business, such as audience development.

"You can't afford to promote your content online, because you won't make it back yet, and that's kind of the advantage we had as early movers is that we didn't have any cost, so it wasn't important how much we'd earn back," said Nalts. By developing a large and enthusiastic audience, video creators can save on marketing and promoting their works.

Nalts also explained how YouTube ad revenue works, and how little creators can expect.

"It's important to note that the dollars you get for YouTube are not paid from YouTube. You get a percentage of the ad revenue, and it's chump change. I mean, we're talking a couple bucks per thousand views is what I've seen," said Nalts. "And anybody that's been around online advertising knows that that's pretty low for the type of ad."

Revenue should grow as ad dollars continue to move to online video.

"We know that that's changing quickly as the projections for shift of online spend from television dollars. We're seeing the dollars significantly shift, if you look long term. So what does that mean? It means the competition will increase and brands are getting very, very interested. But paid is just one way in. There's also earned and sponsored," said Nalts. He went on to explain to the audience that getting sponsorship increased the odds of a video going viral greatly.

For more from Kevin Nalty and the other panelists watch the full video below.

Making a Living on YouTube

Long gone are the days of cute kitten videos offering the only hope for "going viral," but is it possible to make a living creating YouTube videos? As the audience grows more savvy and technology more accessible, the quality of content that reaches the millions of views mark needs to be more engaging and of higher production value than ever before. Meet some of the creators who are reaching these milestones consistently, as well as advertisers trying to gain access to these creators' huge audiences.

Moderator: Jenni Powell, Content and Speaker Coordinator, VidCon
Speaker: Randy Frank, Business Development and Brand Partnership, Ora.tv
Speaker: Lauren Francesca, Actress, Creator, "Key of Awesome"
Speaker: Kevin Nalts, Viral Video Genius
Speaker: Daniel Zaltsman, Partnerships, VYou.com

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