Do you remember what life was like 15 years ago? I remember watching my favourite shows and news on TV, listening to music with an MP3 player, looking for classes to learn new things, heading to the library to find reference books and read experts’ opinions, and finding events in my area to connect with people with similar interests. Now, I can do all these things and more on YouTube.
15 years ago we launched a localised version of YouTube in Australia. Since then, creators around the country have pushed the boundaries on creativity to create new trends that share their art, culture, food, and lifestyles — and they’ve grown their businesses, communities and audiences on YouTube while doing it. So what did this past decade and a half bring?
15 years of innovation
Australia was one of the first six countries in the world where we introduced the YouTube Partner Program. This allowed creators to be rewarded for their work. And as of June 2022, the number of YouTube channels in Australia making $100,000 or more in their annual revenue is up over 25%, year over year.
One of the most exciting new products we have launched is YouTube Shorts, allowing creators to make even more creative and innovative content. Shorts is now available in more than 100 countries around the world and is averaging over 30 billion daily views — four times as many as a year ago. As of December 2021, we had hit 5 trillion all-time views on Shorts!
Home Grown Talent
Creators and artists in Australia continue to shape culture, creating and inspiring new trends and fresh takes on content.
And we punch above our weight globally. Over 90% of watch time on content produced by channels in Australia comes from outside of Australia (a/o June 2022). In Australia, over 250 channels have over one million subscribers, an increase of over 15%, year over year (a/o Dec 2021).*
Here are some of my favourite moments and stories from the last 15 years:
- The numbers alone don’t do Natalie Tran aka communitychannel justice. Sure, the Sydney creator was the first Australian on YouTube to pass a million subscribers but Tran’s impact on the general trajectory of internet sketch comedy is potentially more significant. Many of the tropes of modern long and short-form comedians - one performer playing multiple characters, marrying the absurd and the relatable, a humble self-awareness of our inability to navigate social norms - were pioneered by Tran and she’s been doing it for over a decade.
- You’d be forgiven for thinking How To Basic became the first Aussie creator to notch up 10 million subscribers due to the quality of their information. But actually, it’s the opposite. Operated anonymously since launch, the channel gleefully shows us how not to do everyday tasks spanning cooking, tech support and personal hygiene, all with a typically brash brand of absurdist Aussie humour.
- Five - count ‘em! - FIVE Aussie artists have entered the hallowed halls of YouTube’s billion views music video club. From Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know”, Tones And I’s “Dance Monkey and Sia’s “Chandelier”, to Iggy Azalea’s Charli XCX assisted “Fancy” and AC/DC’s classic “Thunderstruck”, these certified anthems have iconic music videos to match and prove that Aussie artists punch well above their weight when it comes to globally exporting music.
- Natalie Tran walked so Superwog, Aussie Man Reviews, RackaRacka and Aunty Donna could run. YouTube has long provided a pathway to comedy superstardom that didn’t require endorsement from a TV executive, and local funny men and women have been forging their own careers - on their own terms - ever since. Like Superwog, who have notched over three million subscribers and regularly feature among the most viewed Australian videos of the year.
- Cars are great, but what if you could make them… better? Since 2007, Martin Mulholland and Blair Joscelyne aka Marty and Moog have been doing just that with their channel Mighty Car Mods, one of the longest running automotive channels on YouTube. Come for the fast and furious builds, stay for the gorgeous, feature-length travel videos.
- We love a sunburnt country and apparently so too does the rest of the world. Over the last 15 years, the best advocates of Australian tourism have been the plethora of YouTube creators who have used our jaw-dropping beaches, deserts, rainforests, rivers, mountains and bushland as the backdrop for stunning content spanning camping, fishing, boating, bushwalking and four wheel driving. If you haven’t clocked them already, check out YBS Youngbloods, Sailing La Vagabonde and Miller Wilson, who have gained huge international audiences for their beautifully shot love letters to our pristine patch Down Under.
- Melbourne-based architecture and interiors channel NEVER TOO SMALL proves that good things do come in small packages and that the Australian Dream is being re-interrogated and reimagined for an entire generation. Championing ingeniously designed micro-apartments spanning no more than 50 square metres, NEVER TOO SMALL preaches sustainability, livability, human-centred design and the art of doing more with less, making modest minimalism seem far more appealing than a McMansion in the suburbs.
- This feels like a wildly unlikely success story. A shirtless guy in Far North Queensland starts making wordless DIY videos with a twist - he only implements primitive tools and means to craft everything from huts and weapons to bricks and pots. And yet here we are. John Plant aka Primitive Technology is one of the most closely followed (and imitated) creators in Australia and counts a huge global audience, including the New York Times, among his fans. His methodical, ASMR-y videos are often described as soothing and are watched by a legion of followers the majority of whom have no intention of, say, crafting a trebuchet from scratch themselves. His 10+ million subscribers prove that on YouTube, good content prevails and if it’s language agnostic it can transcend borders, culture and dialects.
- You might not know this but Australia has some of the biggest gaming creators in the world. Names like LazarBeam - who had over 1.3 billion channel views in 2021 - Lachlan and Loserfruit, have collectively generated billions of views and garnered tens of millions of subscribers for content that oozes Australia’s irreverent brand of humour.
- Bounce Patrol has gained global recognition. With more than 26 million subscribers and 19 billion views, the channel has evolved over the last 10 years - now employing an Australia-wide team of 10 to create content in English and Spanish that gets preschoolers and kindergarteners across the world singing, moving and learning.
- Australian lifestyle and fitness creators were breakout stars of home workout YouTube after the start of the pandemic. Chloe Ting, gained over 20 million subscribers in the two years following March 2020 off the back of her addictive and endorphin boosting routines reaching people forming new habits all around the world.
- There’s no better example of YouTube longevity and multiformat creativity than How Ridiculous, a trio of friends from Western Australia that have been making videos together since 2009. The group has taken their entertaining content to new heights on Shorts with viral success from a series of balloon popping videos - helping them amass over 4 billion views on their Shorts in 2022 alone.
Turning passion to paycheck
One of the things I’m most proud of about YouTube’s evolution is its transformation into a platform that not only supports art and creativity, but livelihoods and society at large. Today, many creators are making a living on YouTube and building a completely new global economy that’s seen incredible growth.
Over 14 years ago, we introduced the YouTube Partner Program (YPP) in Australia, a first-of-its-kind open monetisation program where we share the majority of revenue with creators. Globally, we now have more than 2 million creators participating in YPP, and we paid more than $30 billion in advertising and alternative monetisation revenue to creators, artists, and media companies within a three-year period prior to November 2020.
As creators get rewarded for sharing their passion and knowledge with viewers, we’re also seeing them invest more in the quality of content which leads to more rewards, creating a virtuous cycle.
Creators make a true economic impact, and so prioritising ways to help them build their businesses will continue to be a top priority for us in the years to come.
Cheers to the next 15, too!
While there has been significant progress in building a safe space to create, connect and share, our work isn’t done. In the next 15 years, we are committed to refining and investing in the many sides of the platform, so that when people come to YouTube — regardless of location or format — they will always have the most valuable experience.
We have been investing in the policies, resources and products needed to protect the community and trusted creators, including our responsibility framework around four principles: removing violative content, raising authoritative voices, reducing borderline content, and rewarding trusted creators. We will continue to build on our work to reduce harmful content across all our products and policies while allowing a diverse range of voices to thrive.