This post was originally written for The Jungle, a weekly newsletter about the business of YouTube. Subscribe here.
By Sarah Ullman
How do viral videos make money? YouTube ad revenue, yes. But a viral video has a whole range of distribution platforms, all of which feed one another and bolster the video’s demand and subsequent revenue. Exposure to a video on any one platform drives demand and viewership for the same video on other media. For example, if a video does well on YouTube, its viewership might make it compelling enough for a slot on “Ellen,” which in turn increases the shares of the video on YouTube and perhaps spurs local TV stations to feature a clip as well.
Sometimes, videos will be licensed years after they go viral; the life cycle of viral content is longer than just 15 minutes of fame. All of the above licensing opportunities featured in this infographic can be monetized for a video’s creator; success for a particular video is more complex and relational than just a view count on the YouTube watch page. UGC is ubiquitous in the digital video ecosystem, and videos can have a productive life on many different platforms.
Created in partnership with Jukin Media, which works with video creators to effectively monetize their content and build businesses out of viral videos.
Sarah Ullman (@thesillysully) is a writer and creative consultant focusing on the YouTube ecosystem. She writes a weekly newsletter about the business of YouTube called “The Jungle” (subscribe here) and specializes in helping “traditional media” clients transition to the digital landscape.