🎥 Investors Spend Billions on Youtubers

Buying up back-catalogues. Will it pay off?

This is The Level Ups. Modern business news for the future business leader (in plain-Jane English).


  • The Investment Firm Buying $1B in Catalogues

  • Why Creators Say Yes

  • Success In The Model:

  • What’s next? Opportunities.

Let’s get into it.

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes & 55 seconds.

The Investment Firm Buying $1B in Catalogues

Youtubers are becoming household names. We all know MrBeast, for example, who is absolutely crushing it.

What might his old videos be worth in 10 years? How many more people will see them?

Where the eyeballs go, the dollars follow.

That’s what Spotter is betting $1B on.

Spotter is an investment company that cuts cheques to Youtubers in exchange for future ad revenues.

It’s a challenging business question.

Do you want a large sum of money upfront (Spotter’s avg deal is $1.5M), but in exchange, you’ll never see any ad dollars from the videos? It’s not every video, and it’s not always “forever,” but that’s the general question.

The details are decided case by case. Another company, Jellysmack, is doing the same.

MrBeast and several other creators have said yes. MrBeast has done multiple deals.

Why Creators Say Yes

If they’re so good, why would they say yes?

Because it takes time for a channel to grow, and producing amazing videos costs money.

Taking the cash upfront allows them to up their game and build larger audiences who watch newer videos in greater numbers (videos not tied up in these deals, so the creator makes the ad money).

Take the money, use it to grow faster, and then cruise (or do another deal).

Someone like MrBeast, who gives away hundreds of thousands in some videos, could use the funds to get bigger and bigger.

Those videos are expensive to make, even if he didn’t give all that money away.

To give you an idea, his Squid Game remake video got 142M views in 8 days. The average video with just 1M views makes $5k.

That’s $710k just for one video (after only 8 days). It’s at 317M now (over $1.5M just from ads). Check it out if you haven’t. It’s amazing.

Success In The Model:

It’s common to pay upfront for assets expected to make money over an extended period. We see this with music catalogues and book deals.

It’s just that a Youtuber’s catalogue is a new asset class that most haven’t really looked at before.

The idea of making a living (let alone millions) on Youtube is new, to begin with.

Take a book deal:

  • The publisher pays lump sums to the author as they write the book. The total might be $200k.

  • Then, the publisher takes all the proceeds from sales until the $200k is paid off.

  • Once it’s paid off (and the publisher takes extra to cover other expenses like marketing, art, etc.), the author gets royalties.

But books don’t always “earn out” their advance.

The thing is, the model still exists, so it must be working well enough.

Just like how a publisher handles much more than just the cheque, Spotter also offers value-added services such as analysis to find opportunities to grow the channel.

What’s Next? Opportunities

If you can do this with Youtube videos, you can do this with anything on a smaller scale.

  • Sneakers

  • Pokemon Cards

  • Limited Edition Books

  • Comic Books

If I still had my Pokemon card collection, it would be worth at least $500k right now, and I hate myself for trying “minimalism” (it’s over-rated).

Jokes aside, the important question: will people do this with TikTokers?

People thought creating Youtube as a business was stupid, but now… not so much.

Thanks for reading!

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