When Raza Samo discovered his YouTube channels had been hacked in July, he not only lost access to a subscriber base of over a million subscribers, but also lost his only source of income.
Samo from Larkana has two YouTube channels: “KhujLee Family” for comedy about culture and society with 1.4 million subscribers and “Raza Samo” for social media comments with 527,000 subscribers.
YouTube completely changed my life. After my account was hacked, Google turned off monetization on my channels so I was very stressed, ”he told.
For Samo, managing his YouTube channels is a full-time job. “I run my house and manage all expenses with the income from my channels,” he said.
YouTube has set eligibility criteria for content creators in order to monetize them. According to their monetization policy, a creator must have more than 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 valid hours to the public in the past 12 months.
It also requires a channel to stay active. “We can turn off monetization for channels that haven’t uploaded or posted a video on the Community tab for 6 months or more,” the policy says.
“The biggest challenge is keeping them relevant and consistent. YouTube’s money is based on how often and how actively content is streamed, ”Ramish Safa .
Safa, who runs the “YarRamish” chain, runs the shoe market in Karachi. His videos like “Rs 20,000 Shoe for Rs 1,500” and “Lighthouse Karachi’s Cheap Sneaker Paradise” have been viewed 227,000 and 580,000 times on YouTube, respectively.
“It takes a lot in the beginning. You have to buy cameras, hardware, invest in the setup, and so on. Slowly those costs spread out and then you can make money and get a return on your investment, ”he said.
On average, YouTube pays between $ 0.3 and $ 1 per 1,000 views in Pakistan.
“The start is very slow. Brands can take 2 to 3 years to partner with. If I upload five videos a day, probably only one will be sponsored, ”said Bilal Munir, a tech vlogger.
Munir has shared over 1,300 tech review videos on his YouTube channel, VideoWaliSarkar. “With 1.36 million subscribers, I get an average of 200,000 views of my videos that I download daily,” said Munir, who makes between Rs 300,000 and Rs 500,000 per month.
The key to being a successful content creator is sponsoring and supporting brands. “It also depends on the niche you choose. Tech channels generally receive more announcements and partnerships. Brands usually pay Re1 per view, ”he added.
There are other challenges for the industry of monetizing content on Facebook platforms.
Amber Javed, an Instagram blogger, believes platforms should recognize Pakistan as a growing market and enable monetization capabilities.
According to Facebook guidelines, pages with administrators in Pakistan and content in Urdu cannot yet be monetized.
Javed manages the Instagram account “Awardrobeaffair” with 146,000 subscribers. “Followers and engagement are high in Pakistan compared to some global Instagram bloggers. Despite the great use of Instagram, the platform isn’t paying us, ”he said.
Following the recent ban on TikTok and warnings from the Pakistani Telecommunications Authority (PTA) to YouTube, there is uncertainty about the content creators industry to ensure that offensive content is blocked on their platform.
“The government’s position on social media platforms is currently very unreliable. If there is no social media, online businesses cannot survive because there is no advertising space, ”Munir said.
Despite their success in social networks, the developers are now diversifying into other projects to secure their sources of income.
“In today’s environment, it is better to diversify your portfolio and not generate income from a single site / platform,” said Javed, who recently started a product-based business with the help of his Instagram followers.
With fears growing that history will repeat itself, digital creators are still reaping the effects of the previous YouTube ban in 2012.
“This was a big setback for the Pakistani digital industry. It was and is very harmful to us. Our YouTube is way behind India, the US and other countries, ”said Amtul Baweja, an Instagram travel and lifestyle blogger named“ Patangeer ”.
Instagram is his main source of income and makes up 80% of his income. The platform is already heavily regulated, with strict guidelines for users, he noted.
“The ban on platforms is not the solution. However, out of fear we try to stay active on all platforms so as not to lose completely if one of them is banned, ”added Baweja.