Is YouTube Free and How Does YouTube Make Money?

Last updated: April 21, 2017 - 6:20pm EDT

Now that you know how Youtube works, and you’ve learned about how to stay safe while using YouTube, you’re probably wondering if using YouTube is going to cost you anything. In this article, we’ll explain how YouTube makes money, and whether or not YouTube is free to use. To find everything you need to know, read on!

Is YouTube free?

YouTube is free to sign up for, and to use. There are no limits on how many videos can be watched, or how many times you can watch a video. The only exceptions to this are some full-length movies and television show seasons, which may cost money to view, but YouTube makes this very clear to its users beforehand.

Example of a YouTube video that you can pay to watch

So how does YouTube pay the bills?

We've mentioned one revenue stream for YouTube: paid-for on-demand viewing of certain full-length movies and television show seasons. However, this is a relatively new feature for YouTube, brought out to compete with other popular video-streaming services (such as Netflix and Hulu). Being purchased for over $1.65 billion in November of 2006 by Internet giant Google also certainly helped YouTube's bank account. But there are a few other ways that YouTube generates revenue.

YouTube makes money primarily through advertising. Rather than the banner ads you see on many websites, it places advertisements on videos, either a short video ad before (similar to a commercial) or a pop-up image and text during the video. Occasionally, these ads can be skipped or closed after a length of time.

YouTube also has a program called "YouTube Partners" where, if a user's videos are popular enough, they can split the advertising revenue with YouTube. The user typically takes 55% of the advertising revenue for their own videos, with the other 45% going to YouTube. Over 1 million users are part of this program; some are private individuals, while others are major corporations who have licensed YouTube to display their advertisements and other exclusive content.

 

And that's a little bit about how the video platform giant makes money! 

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