Since its’ birth back in 2005, YouTube has been a rapidly-growing online platform for streaming virtual content of nearly every genre. From the very beginning, YouTube has been a powerhouse for obtaining organic streaming views and attention from the around the world.

In 2006, “The site delivered an average of 100 million video views per day in July.” This grew to even further heights on October 9th, 2005, when the company was bought by Google for $1.65 billion in stock. Today, YouTube has become one of the most popular streaming networks around the world, driving in billions of dollars in revenue per year from advertisements alone. Yet, despite their success in generating billions in revenue and becoming the largest platform for advertisers, the question is… Are they profitable? And if not, can they sustain long enough to reach profitability?

When Google bought the company in 2006, it was not yet profitable. In years surround 2015, reports showed that this subsidiary of Google was still not making any money on its own. As of year 2020, the answer remains unknown as, YouTube does not disclose revenue, profitability, how many ads it runs alongside videos, user numbers and how often those users visit the site.”

While they may have their reasons for not disclosing this information, it forces us to ask the question:

Is YouTube a dying platform? Are they simply TOO BIG to survive?

This may come down to one primary factor, “Link Economics.” Or, in other words, revenue based on click-rates.

Link Economics

The idea was to give something away for fee, then invite them elsewhere with a link to click. But what has happened… ALL OF US have become immune to this with the overload of companies all asking us for the same thing. When was the last time you clicked a link ON PURPOSE??

So what happens when these reasons, combined in such a large, massive database of users, don’t work in your favor? When left alone, the proper and pro-active protocals aren’t utilized properly for preventing its’ own un-doing.

Since YouTube was first created 15 years ago, the largest current YouTube audience was still in Pre-K. And more and more of ALL ages are being brought up in the cloud, on-line, unsupervised. It’s essentially a rapidly growing House of Cards.

Last year alone,  “81% of 15-25 year-olds in the U.S. use Youtube.” For a company reaching that large of an audience (specifically the youth with desire for entertainment), it’s no wonder why YouTube is more than willing to spend high dollars to popular content creators for putting ads throughout their videos. And even more so, for other companies to pay even larger sums of money to those creators for promoting their brand. But when individual companies and large corporate brands use a platform like YouTube as an advertisement source, the majority of that targeted audience come down to the younger eyes, children and pre-teens. Even with the slow growth of age that has come within the past few years, the youth continues to be the driving force in between all of the fame and fortune that YouTube and its’ users have benefited from.

In their perspective, YouTube has made attempts at resolving this situation. “YouTube began requiring creators to label videos of theirs that might appeal to children.” But all this really did was make it more difficult for content creators to focus on their own content, without being demonetized by certain language, and missing out on their portion of ad revenue. Being a company with such a massive database and size, it’s not a simple “fix” to alter the terms of service, especially during what seems to be the prime of their business.

When a company that, to the best of our knowledge, isn’t profitable and then gets fined $170 MILLION dollars for violating COPPA, how long before Mom and Dad (Google) shut it down? But what’s worse, if they actually did shut it down, what would they do with all of OUR data to find a way to make up for all the lost money?

With that, an even larger, far more severe complication has come from this advertisement-driven machine… A threat, or danger, for privacy, data security, and distribution of personal information. Will this potentially lead to the fall of YouTube?  

2008 financial crisis: Too Big To Fail

2020 data protection crisis: Too Big NOT to Fail

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