In a day and age where the earning potential of video creators on YouTube is in question, some creators and brands have diversified enough that the “Adpocalypse” hasn’t affected them much, if at all. And there’s no better example of a thriving online video brand than Rooster Teeth, a digital production company based in Austin, Texas.
Rooster Teeth’s Chief Creative Officer Burnie Burns spoke to his company’s success in sustaining its business for more than ten years at a VidCon interview on June 24. Burns said initially, Rooster Teeth started with its subscription model before moving into other pillars of the company’s diverse business model, including merchandising, DVDs, live events, and pre-roll ads on YouTube once the brand started to upload its content to that platform. However, Burns was careful to note, “We never let any aspect of our business be more than 30% of our revenue.”
Because of this, Burns said Rooster Teeth has been protected from issues like the Adpocalypse for a while now. He recalled a moment at the recent YouTube Creator Summit where one creator stood up and announced she’d lost 85% of her revenue per month due to ad demonetization, which reminded him his company wasn’t having in-depth conversations about pre-roll ads simply because it didn’t need to. “We never want to be dependent on any one thing,” Burns explained, adding Rooster Teeth wasn’t predicting any problematic event in particular, but knew at some point something would fail to work and they had to be prepared for it.
So despite the recent problems with advertising on YouTube, Rooster Teeth has felt only minor financial pains, and is set to continue as a successful business thanks to its diversification in revenue streams. As for new creators looking to enter the digital industry and build similar media empires, Burns highly recommended they “always have a long-term strategy.”