Kyle Lindsey spent a lot of money – not to mention, a lot of time – earning his Ph.D. in pharmacology. And then success got in the way.
Lindsey made videos describing the cars that came into his father Bill Lindsey’s car lot in Reidsville.
“It was just to have a job while I was in medical school so I could have something fun to do on the side,” Lindsey said.
And then he figured out he could not just upload them to YouTube for safe-keeping. He could do it to make some money.
“I think YouTube came out around 2005 or so. So, when I started there wasn't a whole lot of content out there. I remember seeing my videos on the featured page a lot because there wasn't a whole lot of stuff out there,” he said of his first posts in 2009.
Things took off and by the time Lindsey was done with pharmacy school, he was making more money on YouTube than he could as a pharmacist. He put the textbooks away and became a full-time YouTuber.
He had no idea how big the phenomenon would become. Today, people upload 300 hours of video to YouTube every single minute.
Its users watch five billion videos each day and every month, 80 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 49 watch YouTube. It reaches more people in the United States than any TV network -- and does that just on mobile devises -- that doesn’t include on desktop computers or TVs, which is YouTube’s latest marketing push.
All of that has made a select few very wealthy. A handful of YouTubers make more than a million dollars a year – some, as much as $20 million. It all has to do with how many views your YouTube channel has that Google (YouTube’s parent company) can run ads on.
“There's some magic formula that YouTube and Google have, if advertisers are bidding to be on your channel it depends on sponsor wants to buy out the ad space on your channel on Google,” Lindsey said. “There are so many things that go into the equation. We just see the numbers that go into it at the end of the day. I may have fewer views than someone else but I may make more money for those views.”
YouTube/Google pay anywhere from 25 cents to $5 for every 1,000 video views.
His millions of video views have made Lindsey something of a celebrity, getting noticed when he’s just out and about.
“It happens a lot more than you might expect,” Lindsey said. “At Myrtle Beach, one time, walking around at Broadway at the Beach, you pass someone and they're like, 'You're that Saab guy, Lindsey on YouTube, right?' I'm like, 'Yeah,' and then it's like, what do I say? Thank you?”
He is thankful for the platform YouTube has provided him. He keeps evolving with the medium – what he does today is not like what he did 10 years ago and it’s not likely to be what he’s doing in another 10 years.
“I'd like to grow it beyond YouTube in some way, shape or form,” Lindsey said. “YouTube has been a wonderful starting platform and I've been doing it for a long time, now. But I don't see myself being strictly on YouTube all the time. I think there's something else to take what I've been doing and expand upon it to a greater audience whatever that may be.”
See how Lindsey’s work has evolved over the years – and the key role FOX8 played in his story – in this edition of the Buckley Report.