The "Girlfriend" video from tweenybopper pop diva Avril Lavigne has taken the all-time views title away from Judson Laipply's Evolution of Dance, though it's still stuck in the second spot on YouTube's leaderboard. Besides being manually kept out of the top spot, what have all those views garnered the young guitarista? According to her label's CEO Terry McBride of Nettwerk Management, $2 million in revenue-sharing income from YouTube. But a longtime reader who's represented other popular YouTube partners with eight-figure view counts called shenanigans:
If anyone did the math — let's be generous and give her 150 million total views (neglecting the fact that her most popular video is actually hosted on RCA's channel which she almost certainly won't be paid for) — to have a $2 million dollar check that would mean she earned a $13 CPM with 100 percent inventory fill. From my personal experience, YouTube fills just a tiny tiny part of the potential views and can tell you for a fact that this is a total lie or idiot math from an idiot manager. I disagree with you guys that YouTube was bad and unmonetizable move by Google but if this were remotely true they would be making an astounding amount of money. One of my clients who has done about 30 million total views has made about $15k tops.
Chalk it up to McBride wanting to make good on the role of new media genius he's being made out to be in the press. With a 50 percent revenue split, the total take would have to mean YouTube's selling out its pageviews at a $25 CPM — and Avril Lavigne would be responsible for one percent of YouTube's estimated revenue for 2008.
In yesterday's quarterly earnings conference call, Google's Eric Schmidt said that they'd had most of their success in new ad formats with widget ads, not online video. We doubt Lavigne's fan base is spending all day customizing their iGoogle homepages. The only logical conclusion is that if any $2 million checks are being written, it's by Google to pay for the bandwidth that RCA and McBride are getting for free in order to market Lavigne.