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Dream jobs drown in ‘Red Ocean’: Why YouTubers are quitting

Written by World Events

Prominent YouTubers have recently left the social media platform while many others are considering cutting down on their video uploads. It’s a trend that is growing globally, and Thailand is no exception.

“I want to be honest with you guys. I don’t want to do this anymore,” says Caleb Pike, the creator of DSLR Video Shooter with 729K subscribers.

“I find courage within myself to shut this thing down,” says Vanessa Lay, a YouTuber with over 700K subscribers. Jobs just get bigger and more complicated. I’m so tired,” says Tom Scott , a YouTuber with 6.2 million subscribers.

Among the most popular videos on YouTube are those about the creators leaving the platform, with most of them getting a lot of views. Things are not so different in Thailand where a lot of established YouTubers of various genres such as Momm Tanad Dak (4.79 million subscribers) and Bearhug (4.79 subscribers) have announced their decision to leave the platform after 10 years.

Momm Tanad Dak, aka Sahatsawat “Sek” Chobchingchai, said that a decade ago he saw YouTube as a future career but now he has doubts. “I started vlogging to record food that I had tasted and then it became a hobby. I was happy at first and income flowed in but now I don’t feel like waking up or wanting to do it anymore,” he said in a YouTube video.

For Bearhug, the situation is similar. The couple used to enjoy creating content on YouTube, but now they have to focus on the business. “Then we had four staff and now 400, we have to take care of our business first and cut what’s not necessary,” said Saar, a co-owner of Bearhouse.

Bearhug has left YouTube but continues to post videos on TikTok.

Burnout is one of the main reasons that YouTubers leave or pause their video creation. The pressure to constantly create content and chase trends makes the work a chore rather than a pleasure, which is very different from how it was in the beginning.

“A decade ago I only had my mobile phone and a cheap microphone to make a video,” said Sahatsawat or Sek.

Mojiko, who runs a YouTube channel under the same name with 3 million subscribers, quit YouTube recently, She informed her fans on her channels a few weeks ago.

“I won’t be a YouTuber anymore. I thought about it hard for a year. I’ve been under tremendous stress. I don’t want to shoulder such a heavy burden and I want to explore my full potential as a businesswoman. I’ve tried doing both but I couldn’t handle it anymore.”

A recent shift in career aspirations has emerged, with surveys in the UK, US, and Thailand showing that vlogger and YouTuber have become the top jobs kids dream of.

This has dethroned traditional professions like doctor and teacher, reflecting the immense influence of online personalities and the allure of a career built on creativity and self-expression.

These surveys highlight a generation growing up surrounded by YouTube and the idea that anyone with a camera and some charisma can achieve online stardom.

Mojiko was among the YouTubers who got into vlogging as a teen. At 18, she started as a beauty YouTuber and gradually changed to review food as she is a foodie.

She enjoyed it at first with income from product reviews and tips she earned from tasting food in around 200-300 restaurants. Now 29, her direction has shifted and she feels that the pressure is too much, and it is time she focused on her business.

Majiko announces her departure from YouTube on her channel. (Photo courtesy of Majiko Channel)

The income has also dropped, mainly due to the growing number of platforms and influencers. She also has a team now, unlike when she started as a solopreneur.

But it’s not only long-time YouTubers who are deciding to leave the platform but also the active ones who are affected by demonetization. The dream job that young people look for is not promising anymore.

“YouTube is now a red ocean,” says Pakboon (Tarittee Danua), a creator with 255K subscribers to the Pakboon Channel. A Thai living in Southern France,Tarittee points out that algorithm changes and fierce competition make it hard to monetize the content.

YouTuber Pakboong remains a solopreneur, managing her channel independently.

She revealed that her 2023 income from posting 3-4 video clips per month, each about 10-minutes long, earned her 40,000 baht a month on average. “Yes, there is the SuperThank button that fans can use to give me money (like a tip) but that is subject to a 30% deduction by the platform owner.”

Pakboong can survive as she has enough loyal fans contributing money directly to her bank account back in Thailand. She also produces video all by herself, a real solopreneur.

Pakboong shares detailed insights into her channel’s performance with fans. (Photo courtesy of Pakboong channel)

Many may not survive as many celebrities have also started their own channels with a solid production and staff.

Those well-known figures also attract a lot of advertisers. While some celebrities have cried out for a sponsor, they also have enjoy other benefits for doing the content, such as maintaining their popularity, or touching base with their fans.

The platform algorithm changes have also affected many veteran YouTubers as they feel that after reaching one level, their videos have been buried. Newcomers may get seen more easily. On the other hand, the creative restriction as well as terms and conditions have discouraged YouTubers from pursuing the business.

A user named Madutarot commented on YouTube that the algorithm has been very hostile for the past two years, and many have seen the number of views drop drastically. “Unless you have a solid fan base, it is almost impossible to start a channel. It’s good if you do it just for fun and not as a career to earn a living.”

Manop whose M935 Channel specializes in Indian series told his audience that he might suspend creating content until May or June if things don’t improve.

“Revenue has decreased due to fewer ads and lower views, and I have to pay translators and sometimes even add money for translation. This month, I have to give up everything again.”

“My personal savings are running out. I will try to continue if the situation improves, but if not, I might have to stop and find other work. Many YouTubers have given up, and I have been struggling since last year.”

Many have found other platforms have greater potential in terms of creative control and income. Bearhug has quit YouTube but the couple still have their shorts on TikTok, which they find easy to handle in terms of making a video. They also don’t have to allocate a lot of time to it which suits their lifestyle and business schedule.

Parinya Padungtin set up a YouTube channel “Pro Pui Parinya” almost 2 years ago but it has grown slowly in terms of subscribers.

But when he launched his content on TikTok, it became a hit among wildlife and fishing enthusiasts and he could easily monetize content via affiliate marketing.

Parinya Padungtin finds TikTok more efficient for monetization. (Photo courtesy of ProPui TikTok Channel)

Many astrologers on YouTube also find themselves getting better business by migrating to TikTok as they can interact with viewers easily, and earn through direct “gifts” and affiliate marketing.

To survive, everyone must adapt. If you don’t change platforms, perhaps alter your strategy. A lot of YouTubers rely for their income on sponsors, although it is one of the least favorable ways.

But they have to try find income through other means. Oui Buddhabless channel, 326K subscribers, has no sponsor but the YouTuber (real name Nate Ekwijit) invites fans to donate to support the channel production.

Pakboong channel has long accepted direct money support from fans as well as product sponsors. Just recently, she announced that she wanted to keep the line to reserve her right to review only selected products. “You can send me products and if I try and like it, I will accept the sponsorship.”

It’s evident that it is not only the platform that has changed but also the creators. A number of YouTubers such as Mojiko have different goals when they grow up, and she is not alone. There are many similar cases everywhere.

“My life has changed. You are different you grow up,” said a creator of The Game Theorists with 19 million subscribers.

Success has it price. One spends time, a lot of it, for success just to lose happiness and good health. There are cases of YouTubers simply unable to bear the pressure any more. It used to be happiness that brought in income to a passionate content creator, but now it has changed completely. Reality is going against a dream (job).

Perhaps the warning from the world’s most successful YouTuber Mr Beast will be useful. As he puts it on X: “It’s painful to see people quit their job/drop out of school to make content full time before they’re ready. For every person like me that makes it, thousands don’t. Keep that in mind and be smart plz”

YouTuber may be a top career aspiration for a young person, but making video content as a hobby is completely different from making a career out of it. Be prepared to handle stress and pressure once you transform into a full-time YouTuber.

By Veena Thoopkrajae


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