While some Bilibili content creators have stopped updating their videos due to lack of profit and motivation, Li Ziqi, a Chinese video blogger, entrepreneur, and internet celebrity with 17.4 million subscribers on YouTube, continues to earn profits from her channel despite not posting new content since July 2021.
Li, who had been absent from the public eye for a while, has recently resurfaced on Weibo’s trending topics due to a screenshot. The screenshot reveals that Li’s YouTube channel generates an average monthly advertising revenue of over 785,000 yuan ($114,195), according to value estimation analysis.
A report by Jiemian News states that Li has given permission to its partner MCN company Weinian to use the “Li Ziqi” brand for specific commercial purposes. However, they will no longer collaborate on content creation. This raises questions about how much of the income from YouTube belongs to Li herself. Furthermore, Douyin and Taobao Live have expressed interest in inviting her for live-streaming due to her significant commercial value.
YouTube channel revenue information is only accessible to logged-in creators, making it unavailable to the outside world. This data comes from third-party platforms and may not be entirely accurate. Nevertheless, YouTube’s incentive mechanism and historical development are closely linked to the rewards given to creators.
YouTube offers creators multiple ways to earn profits. By participating in the YouTube Partner Program, they can generate income by uploading videos. Previously, one had to have 1,000 subscribers and a valid public video playback time of 4,000 hours in the past year to join this program. However, starting this year, YouTube has lowered the entry threshold even further to better incentivize creators who focus on short videos. Creators who have gained 1,000 subscribers within the last 90 days and whose short videos have been publicly played at least 10 million times are also eligible to apply for the program.
YouTube creators have multiple options to earn money from their content, including advertising, channel memberships, merchandise sales, YouTube Premium, Super Chat, Super Stickers and Super Thanks. The most popular way for creators to generate income is through revenue sharing from ads. Additionally, the revenue-sharing ratios are transparent.
Li frequently appears in her videos, but she uses minimal language expression, which makes them appealing to a wide range of users. Her YouTube channel has over 128 videos with a total view count exceeding 2.92 billion and an average view count of over 29 million. She still holds the Guinness World Record for “The most subscribers for a Chinese language channel on YouTube” to this day.
Based on data provided by Nox Influencer, a third-party marketing platform, Li’s YouTube channel maintained a consistent quality rating of four stars (out of five) and regional cost per mille (CPM) ranging from $10 to $18 after ceasing updates. It is estimated that her monthly advertising revenue falls between $101,700 and $123,800.
YouTube’s support for creators comes at a significant cost. In 2019, YouTube generated $15.1 billion in advertising revenue, marking the first time that Google has publicly disclosed the platform’s financial data since acquiring it. Ruth Porat, CFO of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, revealed that a substantial portion of this revenue was paid out to content creators.