The Wall Street Journal on the Cartoon Hits of YouTube
The Wall Street Journal, erstwhile publication of the rich, powerful and those who wish to be both, is also quite a good source of information on aspects of business (it would be even better if it weren’t behind a paywall, but what can you do). Anyway, they recently featured an article that looks at YouTube’s funded channels and how well they are doing. That in and of itself is not necessarily noteworthy but what is is the fact that quite a few of those channels are animation-oriented.
Mentioned are both Shut Up! Cartoons (it’s a Smosh property in case you are wondering) and AwesomenessTV (which I’ve covered before). Not mentioned are other channels that would be weigh heavier on the animation side like Channel Frederator and the upcoming Cartoon Hangover.
So what’s significant about all of this? Why should you care? Well, these channels are the prototypes. Think of CNN back in the 1980s. It was one of the first cable channels and literally bled money for the first decade. That’s exactly what these channels are today. It’s important to pay attention to them because they are the ones who will make all the mistakes and suffer the hiccups so you don’t have to.
So is there a future in cartoon channels on YouTube? Yes, absolutely. However, it will take some time to develop. YouTube itself is still playing around with an exact business model that will be profitable and only the very best and most subscribed-to channels generate any revenue at all. Either way, they are something to pay close attention to.