Infographic: The Life Cycle of a Viral Video
This post was originally written for The Jungle, a weekly newsletter about the business of YouTube. Subscribe here.
By Sarah Ullman
How do viral videos make money? YouTube ad revenue, yes. But a viral video has a whole range of distribution platforms, all of which feed one another and bolster the video’s demand and subsequent revenue. Exposure to a video on any one platform drives demand and viewership for the same video on other media. For example, if a video does well on YouTube, its viewership might make it compelling enough for a slot on “Ellen,” which in turn increases the shares of the video on YouTube and perhaps spurs local TV stations to feature a clip as well.
Sometimes, videos will be licensed years after they go viral; the life cycle of viral content is longer than just 15 minutes of fame. All of the above licensing opportunities featured in this infographic can be monetized for a video’s creator; success for a particular video is more complex and relational than just a view count on the YouTube watch page. UGC is ubiquitous in the digital video ecosystem, and videos can have a productive life on many different platforms.
Sarah Ullman (@thesillysully) is a writer and creative consultant focusing on the YouTube ecosystem. She writes a weekly newsletter about the business of YouTube called “The Jungle” (subscribe here) and