YouTube has launched a program to give preferred users the chance to make money by making content. Inside Film editor Rachael Turk speaks with the founder of hughsnews, one of the most subscribed channels in Australia, about what this all means.
They say that to cut it on YouTube, you need to dance (think The Evolution of Dance and the dancing baby). But for Hugh Thomas, founder of hughsnews and one of the first individual partners in YouTube’s Australian Partner Program, launched today, it’s board games.
Thomas reports that two videos relating to chess and poker have garnered over two million views between them on hughsnews, an everyman’s satirically outspoken musings (other viewer favourites have been travel and archaeology videos).


The launch of YouTube’s Australian Partner Program means a revenue stream for local content producing individuals. This follows the launch of YouTube Australia on October 23, in which partnership was restricted to affiliated media creators Network Ten, ABC, Seven, Sky News, Southern Cross View and Fairfax Media.

Following pilot programs for individual partners overseas, Australia is the next region outside of the US, Canada and UK to have its own localised Partner Program with YouTube, along with Japan and Ireland .
Listed as ‘#4 Most Subscribed (All Time)’, Thomas’ 100-plus videos attract between 20,000 and several hundred thousand views. The volume was enough to spur YouTube into offering him a place as one of the first Australian program partners.
Describing his online jaunts as ‘just a hobby, something I thought good to share online’, Thomas – who works by day as an archaeologist and student – says he is unaware of the details of the revenue share and is still waiting until the next week to receive his first YouTube paycheque.
However, reports from the US suggest it can amount to US$800 per million views for American partners and YouTube reports that it has paid more than US $1m to date in total revenue to user partners as part of the program worldwide.
Given that YouTube captures 10 percent of total global internet traffic, does he aim to make a sustainable living from it?
‘I think it could definitely be a second career. I have been given other opportunities to advertise products, some I’ve taken. There’s a lot of money to be made out there by companies starting to realise how important YouTube is in getting information out there’.
Thomas says he has had several offers from other online companies wanting him to post content on their sites, some of which he has accepted.
He describes his production costs, however, as ‘quite cheap… I use things I have around the house’ and says he intends to invest his profit from the venture into ‘buying more advanced software, lighting, etcetera to make my videos even better’.
Thomas says he has used the new YouTube Insight functionality, launched mid-March, to gather statistical information about his audience.
Unsurprisingly, the viewers tend to come from the US, Canada and Australia, however Thomas says the feedback has been valuable in other ways: ‘A lot of the videos are viewed within the first two days, which makes me think about making videos that have a longer lasting effect.’
In a time when Baz Luhrmann is releasing podcasts from the set of Australia , can we expect to download material from a Hugh Thomas blockbuster sometime soon?


Only if I could use that as material for my own site!’, says Thomas.

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