the difficult business of youtubers

They are the stars of the 2000 generation, have up to 8 million subscribers to their YouTube channels, and 120 of them alone filled Pavilion 1 of the Parc des expositions in Paris on November 7 and 8 for Video City, the first Parisian festival dedicated to famous youtubers.

Read also Teen hysteria at Video city, the first festival of French YouTubers

But in the pretty little pink world of online videos, there are questions that shouldn’t be asked. In particular that of their remuneration, as France Info has learned at its expense. « Parce qu’on a osé demander en interview à une jeune youtubeuse si elle était payée, son attaché de presse, furieux, a annulé tous les autres entretiens prévus et a convaincu l’agent des poids lourds Norman, Cyprien et Squeezie de faire de same “says journalist Sandrine Etoa-Andegue in an article about the “business of youtubers”.

Money, a taboo question

Getting answers is indeed difficult. Neither EnjoyPhoenix, the most famous youtuber in France, nor the agent of Jhon Rachid, one of the rising stars of the platform, nor Ubisoft, one of the main advertisers, nor most of the agencies in the sector have responded to our requests. And the few who responded all asked for anonymity.

It’s an understatement to say that the issue of pay is annoying. Last July, the Swede Felix Kjellberg, better known by his pseudonym PewDiePie, YouTube star with his channel specializing in video game games subscribed to 40 million internet users, had to defend himself after the publication of his annual fee of 6.7 million euros.

Read also Millionaire YouTuber ‘PewDiePie’ Responds to Criticism of His Earnings

“It Exploded”What people don’t realize is that my videos have been viewed 9 billion times [au total]it converts into something, there are advertisements, I make money from it »he explained.

This is’“a much sought after and somewhat taboo topic”for his part, recognized the humorist Le rire jaune in a video last spring about the question, provoking “privacy clauses with YouTube”

Complex System

However, some information is known. If the reward system used by Google varies depending on the type of content produced, a YouTuber earns on average about a dollar for every thousand views started, explained in the spring Le Rire jaune, followed by more than 2 million Internet users. But there is a very complex system behind it.

The young youtuber specifically mentioned these little-known structures that are the “networks”, networks “such as the NBA or record labels, who are responsible for protecting royalty [des youtubeurs] in exchange for a percentagein the order of 10 to 20%, and membership of which is mandatory in the case of videos on registered intellectual property, such as movies or video games.

Viewed a little more than 4.8 million times, his explanatory video therefore brought him just under 4,500 euros, mainly thanks to the “preroll”, the commercials that precede a video. A small thing, in reality, compared to the amounts that certain stars of the platform can earn – and mainly thanks to product placement.

Up to 5,000 euros per tweet

The remuneration of a YouTuber does indeed have a second component, which does not arise from the distribution of spots but from contracts with cosmetics or video game brands.

These pay several thousand, even tens of thousands of euros to place their product among the most influential. “The price depends on the youtuber, he is the one who determines his fee, explain to World an agency manager bound by nondisclosure agreements. It can go up to 50,000 euros for the biggest, such as Cyprien, Norman and Squeezie, but some agree to do what on free if the topic interests them. †

Today, offering a YouTube star goes through scalable pricing schemes: every comment on Twitter, every Facebook post and of course every video published on the official channel is reimbursed. A simple tweet to a video with product placement can cost $1,000 to $5,000, depending on the creator’s fame.

Prices are rising abroad: across the Channel, Yogscast, 7 million subscribers to the meter, bills from 5,000 pounds sterling (7,000 euros) for a game test, when the agent of a famous international youtuber offered the star’s services for 250,000 dollars (232,000 euros) in the span of E3, the mass of video games.

“It’s the law of supply and demand, we’re in a system that will benefit them for a while before it finally collapses”wants to believe a professional, who does not hide the surprise of some new advertisers at the fees charged.

Agencies and managers

These negotiations sometimes involve several intermediaries between the advertiser and the YouTuber himself, such as the digital creation agency responsible for devising a relevant video concept. Like top athletes, the most feared people have a manager who is responsible for dealing with them.

The three French giants of YouTube, Norman, Squeezie and Cyprien, in turn, work at Mixicom, a communications agency that serves them both advertising management and marketing advice. “Our goal is to provide services to creators so they can focus on the artistic”Mixicom co-founder Thierry Boyer explained to the magazine in September Strategies

The company, which also publishes news sites GamesNews and MovieNews, has often built bridges between these different activities (such as this video of Norman broadcast on the FilmActu channel). It has since been bought by Webedia (AlloCiné, for an estimated amount of 14 million euros.

But the other giants of French-language video are also owned by major media groups: Studio Bagel from Canal+, Golden Mustache and EnjoyPhoenix from M6.

Ethical Issues

These advertising agencies pose an ethical problem. as noted The ExpressArticle 20 of the Trust in the Digital Economy Act (LCEN) requires all advertisements to: “clearly identify the natural or legal person on whose behalf it is performed”† In practice, however, vagueness prevails.

On October 23, Norman posted a video on his YouTube channel titled “Assassin des templiers”, presenting as “inspired by the Assassin’s Creed video game universe”.

No mention of video sponsor. Bee World, however, the production company IDZ confirms that it has been in touch with Video game publisher Mixicom and Ubisoft Assassin’s Creed† The video was also featured on the latter’s booth at the Paris Games Week video game trade show a week later.

“Ethics, I’ve rarely seen it”

In short, a promotional film, but never explicitly presented as such. It’s that the main youtubers, aware that the fashion they like can be ephemeral, rarely think in terms of ethics. “Ethics, I’ve rarely seen it, pin an agency manager. We try to do coherent things, it’s the agencies that think and not the youtubers. †

Some manage to distinguish themselves despite everything. Jhon Rachid is said to be one of the few who does not charge the advertiser when he is offered a topic and interests him. In the Anglophone sphere, TotalBiscuit, a fierce critic of the ethical excesses of the video game press — and one of the figures of the anti-feminist nebula GamerGate — wouldn’t charge a fee to test the games shipped by the publishers. However, they are an exception.

For Cyprien, Norman, EnjoyPhoenix, and all those whose video content is partially negotiated with a network, their mission is to put their popularity at the service of the brand, and it doesn’t matter if their videos are massively watched by kids who aren’t be prepared to do some of it. “The contracts never say good things about the product, but if you put a carton of cereal on the table and criticize the man, he knows it won’t work. explains the same source† The interest of the youtuber is not to be spit in the soup. †

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