The gaming scene in the Philippines has never looked this promising. Just this year, TNC Pro Team bagged US$800,000 worth of prize money (that's around 40 million pesos, btw) at the recent World Electronic Sports Games, an international Dota tournament held in China. Outside the pros, local streamers such as Suzzysaur, Pathra Cadness, and even our very own FHM babe, Ann Mateo, have slowly invaded Twitch, a popular video game streaming site.
It's still a mystery why there are so few popular Pinoy content producers that cater to the gaming community, especially on YouTube, while in other countries, specialized gaming channels that cater to niche markets easily reach tens of thousands of subscribers in their first year. That’s why we asked Gian Concepcion, more popularly known as GLOCO, one of the very few Pinoy gaming YouTubers to actually break a hundred thousand subscribers and reach most gamers' dream of actually being able to make videos for a living, how he was able to penetrate this industry.
Show me the money
The only way to make money off YouTube is to get a partnership. "After linking your YouTube account to Google AdSense, you will be able to apply for a YouTube Partner Program. Once it gets accepted, you can start monetizing your videos with advertisements," says GLOCO. These days, it isn't that hard to secure a partnership; all you need to do is produce videos that are "original and do not contain any third-party content or copyrighted material and are within the YouTube community guidelines."
That's why YouTubers always reminds their viewers not to skip the ads if they really want to support their channel. Almost all their earnings are generated from monetized views, where ads are shown and watched, so skipping or enabling adblock aren't helping content producers. A few wasted seconds won't hurt.
Also interesting to note is that not all views are created equal, and the location where a video is streamed influences how much it's worth. "For example, for every 1,000 monetized views I get from the Philippines, I'll get around one to two dollars. However, if I get the same number of monetized views from the United States, then I'll receive around three to five dollars," shares GLOCO.
We asked GLOCO if we could get a rough figure of how much he earns on the average per month or per video, but he said he'd rather not answer since it really varies depending on the specific video or trend at that particular time. It could range from a "professional's minimum [wage]" to quite a bit more depending on certain factors that cannot be predicted, like some viral luck or maybe a popular site or page sharing your video. He notes that if he made videos that cater solely to a foreign audience, he could make a lot more but would take most of the fun out of content creation for him.
While majority of their income comes from YouTube itself, there are a lot of smaller networks within—called Multi-Channel Networks—that also provide a bit of profit and perks on the side. "MCN's are like the talent agencies of YouTubers. Some MCN's will offer a certain percentage of revenue shares depending on certain factors. YouTubers usually partner up with MCN's because of 'benefits,' like free music, free graphics, payout options, etc," explains GLOCO.
If you follow a few content creators on YouTube or at least have watched a video on solving a Rubik's Cube, then the term "algorithm" may sound familiar. Basically, YouTube algorithms dictate what pop-up videos will be prioritized based on the keywords that you frequently enter in the search tab, so mastering this concept can easily make or break your channel.
Noticed a lot of YouTube videos getting longer and longer? It might have something to do with how the algorithms favor those kinds of content. According to GLOCO, currently "videos with the most views and minutes watched will be reflected in the search results first. For example, a three-minute video that has two million views will probably show up below a 10-minute on with the same number of views—considering they watched the whole video."
Like and comments also play a big role in determining which videos YouTube will feature. Comments with more comments and ratings (whether likes or dislikes) are considered by the system as 'engaging videos,' so while having a positive 'like ratio' will look good, it doesn't really matter that much if all you're after is exposure. Any publicity is good publicity.
Pinoy vs foreign audience
Even though GLOCO can make more out of views from outside the country, the types of content that pay the most are his comedy skits, parodies, and Dota 2 videos, which cater to both local and specialized audiences. His most-watched video amassed three million views (the series up to Part 6 has more than 12 million views in total, as of this writing) was a Train To Busan parody that was dubbed in Filipino and brimming with gaming references, meaning there is an avenue for this kind of material; it just has to get out there in the mainstream.
While the GLOCO channel is relatively young (started June 2014), he has already cultivated a content pool that he feels resonates with his predominantly Filipino audience. "Medyo mababaw ang kaligayahan ng karamihan sa ating mga Pinoy so it doesn't really take much to entertain us. They will watch anything that's trending or anything they can relate to, lalo na yung mga video na may hugot but while that is so, we still very much appreciate well-made videos. There are some YouTubers that only upload every month or so, yet their videos garner millions of views," says GLOCO. Different video executions appeal to specific target audiences, so aspiring YouTubers just have to find a unique style to show off their creativity.
Most people think that making YouTube videos as merely screaming into the camera and syncing sound effects to random moments to hype up the output, but as GLOCO explains, a lot of risk and sacrifice is involved along the way. "At first I was only getting views from close friends, and I had the issue as to how I could get money because I wasn't really earning anything from my videos, so I had to take up a job as an online English teacher so I could support myself. It was a good part time job because I could do it at home and that helped me focus on my content creation as well. During the first year, I could see a slow but steady growth in my channel," recalls GLOCO.
He admits that part of his success also came from luck. After two years of churning out gaming videos, GLOCO finally got his first big hit: "At some point in April 2015, I released a Cat Mario rage video on Facebook that garnered millions of hits, and that helped me a lot in promoting my channel." He started sharing his YouTube videos on Facebook, which made them more accessible to the online public and garnered him more hits.
When GLOCO finally breached a hundred thousand subscribers, he felt that he could finally quit his part-time job and concentrate on his YouTube channel. "What's funny is that even though the Train to Busan series on my YouTube channel helped my channel grow by a huge margin, it didn't benefit me financially due to copyright reasons. Most of my most popular videos aren't exactly gaming-related and are just products of my spontaneous and twisted humor."
While these tips might be hard to take in all at once, each one is worth considering when planning to put up a YouTube gaming channel. Think of it this way: the dream is all the more real now that you know what you will be getting into. "Being a YouTuber is just as hard as any other job out there. You will be rewarded depending on the effort you give. So if you're not prepared to give a hundred percent to content creation, then I don't think you're cut out for the pressure that it entails," asserts GLOCO.
"But that doesn't mean I'm discouraging anyone who wants to try. If you have an idea that you're itching to share to the world, just go and unleash it! Don't keep the fun to yourself." It's just a matter of time before the world takes notice of local gamers with the drive as passionate as GLOCO's and realize Pinoys can be the most entertaining people to watch on the Internet.