This study explores the phenomenon of YouTube video essays. As the internet and digitalization made cultural goods more accessible, new contemporary forms of content emerged. Video essay is one of them. By building on original works of art, the video essayists create a new content from which they can generate revenues. However, creating and sharing video essays online comes with certain struggles for the creators. In order to gather insight into how the sources of income resulting from making video essays affect their creators, twenty qualitative interviews with video essayists based on the platform YouTube were conducted. The collected data were examined by the means of thematic analysis. The results show an uncertainty connected to the dynamic environment of the internet and the platforms on which the creators operate A recurring storyline among the creators includes initial passion-driven content creation followed by financial motivation as their channels progress. To deal with the uncertainty, the creators diversify their sources of income. The means they use for financing the creation of video essays are YouTube and Google AdSense, Patreon and sponsorships. YouTube as the primary platform where the work of the creators is published affects the video essayists in many ways. However, it is mainly through the copyright system YouTube has created within the lawful boundaries. Patreon serves as a steady source of income with a possibility to create a community around their work. The last revenue stream, sponsorships, are the most lucrative and are a way of pursuing video essay creation as a full-time career. All three sources of income are connected to audience potential. No matter how the creators perceive their activity, they hold a certain level of professionalism in the way they approach managing their video essays.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Cultural Economics, Cultural Entrepreneurship, Video essay creators, motivation, YouTube, copyright and fair use, revenue streams
Thesis Advisor H. Abbing
Persistent URL
Series Cultural Economics and Entrepreneurship , Master Arts, Culture & Society
R. Šmausová. (2019, June 11). It’s a video! It’s an essay! IT’S A VIDEO ESSAY!. Master Arts, Culture & Society. Retrieved from