Q&A with freshman Emma Hsiao, a YouTuber with a fast-growing channel
Recent increases in the percentage of students around the world watching YouTube videos has given rise to several channels catering to a lucrative under-18 demographic. WHS freshman Emma Hsiao is one of these YouTubers, creating videos designed to appeal to middle school and high school students around the world.
Hsiao’s channel has been growing quickly and has gained over 700 subscribers in the last 30 days and has about 11,300 subscribers as of May 10. In an effort to learn more about the process of running a YouTube channel, Wildcat Tracks reached out to Hsiao to understand the intricacies of this enterprise.
Q: What content do you feature on your YouTube channel?
A: I do character drawings and animations for a fandom that is based off of characters from a book series, Wings of Fire, since that’s my main audience. If I try to do anything from another series, they don’t like it!
Q: How would you describe your audience?
A: The majority of the audience is female, below the age of twelve. They’re definitely still in school, and the basic audience of the series is generally my audience.
Q: On average, how much money do you make per month from YouTube? Do you reinvest that money into your channel?
A: It depends, actually. For the past five months, it has been going up exponentially, with the exception of December, so everybody’s out of school during December. So it went from $30 in November, to $120 in December, to $40 in January, $50 in February, and $65 [up to March 26th].
Q: Have you been affected by YouTube demonetization, like many content creators have been recently? What are your thoughts on this wave of demonetization?
A: There have been a couple of videos demonetized which I had to request for manual review. Automatic demonetization usually targets smaller channels like my own, since the whole point of the demonetization crisis, or better known as the “adpocalypse” by YouTube creators, was to prevent ads from appearing on inappropriate content. The videos eventually were reviewed and approved of, but this heavily stunted the revenue I earned from them. Though I haven’t been as heavily impacted as others, it still is annoying when a stream gets demonetized as soon as I say a word that YouTube marks as inappropriate.
Q: To what extent do your viewers’ preferences affect the content you produce?
A: Comments are a big place where smaller creators on YouTube can get ideas on what to do next. The larger my channel gets, the harder it is to comply to all the frequently changing requests I get for new content. Though it does vary from audience to audience, change of interest can be incredibly detrimental to my YouTube earnings and therefore affects the content I make.
Q: How do you feel about YouTube as a platform?
A: It’s a very wide reaching platform; it’s definitely great for reaching out to more people than you usually would. I wouldn’t normally know that 10,000 people were willing to subscribe or watch my art.
Q: What advice would you give to somebody who’s starting a YouTube channel?
A: If you’re starting out with no subscribers, you should invest some time into your first video. Make it very appealing, so that people want to come to your channel and see it. Also, follow up on YouTube trends, because those tend to grab a lot of views due to people being inclined to watch several similar videos.
Q: What plans do you have for your channel in the future?
A: Now that I’ve purchased the Adobe package, I can animate a lot easier using programs that don’t crash when you add more than six layers.
Hsiao’s YouTube channel is projected to grow to nearly 20,000 subscribers by the end of 2018. Her advice caters to those who have dreams of becoming YouTubers themselves and hope to follow in her success.