You started a YouTube channel, got a ton of subscribers, and now you’re wondering if you can cash out? Let’s find out what your channel is worth!
How Do You Find a Buyer for Your YouTube Channel?
If you were buying or selling your blog, websites like Flippa or EmpireFlippers exist to help facilitate transactions. Unfortunately, both sites told me you can’t use their platform to buy or sell a YouTube channel.
I don’t have a few thousand dollars lying around to buy a YouTube channel from each of them. This makes it difficult to determine how reputable the sites are.
That said, YouTube marketplaces exist, and you can start there to get an idea of what prices similar channels are asking for.
How Much is My YouTube Channel Worth?
You can sell a blog for twenty to thirty times average monthly revenue. So if your blog brought in $1,000 per month, I’d expect you could sell it for 20,000 to 30,000 dollars.
While I’d expect you could sell a YouTube Channel for similar multiples, there aren’t exactly a ton of hard and fast rules for selling web assets. This isn’t a stable market, like the housing market.
To get a decent valuation, you need to find a buyer who values your audience. Look for businesses with products that fit your niche.
Why Are YouTube Channels Prices So Low?
If a blog had 50k subscribers, it’d sell for over $100,000. However, you can go on sites like FameSwap and see YouTube channels with more subscribers selling for less than $1,000. How can this be?
Video is such an engaging medium that you’d assume these channels would sell for more than blogs. But, YouTube channels come with some unique challenges that make it hard for buyers to pay top dollar.
1) You Are The Face of Your YouTube Channel and Subscribers May Not Respond Well to a New Person
If I were buying a YouTube channel, I would want to work with the creator of the channel to film a dozen videos together. This way, the audience will be comfortable with me when we finally do make the switch.
Meaning if you just sell your channel to a stranger and walk away, don’t expect your channel to sell for very much money.
2) YouTube Videos are a Depreciating Asset
A blog post tends to rise up the Google rankings over the first few years of its existence before slowly fading over the next decade.
But, YouTube tends not to work that way. On YouTube, your video will get a lot of engagement in the first 24-48 hours, then quickly fade.
Buyers know that the video itself isn’t becoming more valuable over time.
3) A Buyer Has No Way to Increase Monetization on Past Videos
You can’t add new content to videos you’ve already uploaded. The YouTube editor only allows you to cut parts of the video, blur people’s faces, add audio, or cards.
This means buyers of your YouTube Channel have no way to add product placements to the videos you’ve already uploaded. So if they’re only earning a $2 RPM with AdSense, that’s all the old videos are worth.
4) A Buyer Might Want The Original Footage
If I were buying a YouTube channel, I’d want rights to the footage for use in future videos. That would have real value to me.
But, do you have this organized in a way you can package it up? Most YouTubers are uploading their video and forgetting about it. Making the transcoded version is the best version available to the buyer.
This is why YouTube channels with thousands of subscribers are selling for such low prices. Prices that would be unheard of when selling a blog with a similar following.
Big YouTube Channels Sell for Millions of Dollars
You see this when a YouTube channel gets so big it becomes its own brand.
In 2020, Spotify famously paid Joe Rogan $100,000,000 to leave the YouTube platform for Spotify.
The Verge has also reported how several top 100 YouTube channels are selling for millions of dollars. Once you reach scale, the value of your brand goes up tremendously.
The case for selling your YouTube channel for a large amount of money is finding a buyer with a product that matches your audience. To them, access to your audience would be quite valuable.
Is It Legal To Sell Your YouTube Channel?
Yes, it is legal. Selling a YouTube channel is no different than selling any other digital asset. Selling your website, computer software, or YouTube channels will be a similar process.
All that said, I’m not a lawyer or an accountant. You should consult one of each before a massive transaction.
How Do I Change The Owner of My YouTube Channel?
So this is tricky. As of 2021, you can’t transfer ownership of your YouTube channel if you weren’t signed up with a brand account. And there’s no way to change your personal account into a brand account without deleting the entire channel. Meaning if you’re buying a personal YouTube channel, you have to buy the entire Gmail account. If you can’t lock the previous owner out after the sale, they can really do some damage.
If the seller was smart enough to start with a brand account, tell them to go to YouTube and click Settings.
Then click Add or Remove Managers. Then click Manage Permissions. Then a screen like the one below should appear, add the new owner, and click invite.
Once the other owner accepts your invitation via email, he will have the ability to get back to that same screen you were just on. From there, he can set himself as the primary owner and then delete you from the account.
Is It Against YouTube’s Terms of Service to Sell your YouTube Channel
However, they do not support transactions either. Meaning you’re on your own for the process of transferring ownership and collecting payment. If you transfer ownership and then the other party doesn’t pay you or vice versa, you’re screwed.
You should only engage in these types of transactions with people you trust. Or if you have a robust legal framework in place to handle disputes.
How Do I Contact YouTube?
If you’re serious about buying or selling an expensive channel, it’s understandable you may want to reach out to YouTube yourself about this. I couldn’t figure out a way to message them from the YouTube help center, so I sent @TeamYouTube a tweet asking about buying a YouTube channel.
@TeamYouTube Hey YouTube, is it against your TOS to buy or sell an entire YouTube Channel? Also, I couldn’t figure out any other way to contact you, is Twitter the best way?— Shaun Poore (@shaunpoore) June 26, 2020