The question I always ask is: how long until YouTube removes the ability to skip ads altogether? How long until a painfully nontrivial portion of our browsing time is spent directly consuming propaganda?
They'll be running commercials on television in a few years at this rate.
No the relationship isn't direct. As you add more advertising content to videos people will watch less and the advertising revenue would go down - this makes it not directly correlated.
> Same goes for paying content creators less.
In the same way, it's not a direct relationship. As you pay creators less they're less incentivised to create content for you to attach your advertising to.
To prove by absurdity, if you added an hour of un-skippable advertising to a two minute video, few people would watch the video.
Now the annoyance of ads also serves the direct purpose of advertising their own service.
Alphabet doesn’t disclose how much money YouTube is making, but RBC Capital analyst Mark Mahaney estimates YouTube’s annual revenue has reached $10 billion and is increasing by as much as 40% a year. The growth makes YouTube “one of the strongest assets fundamentally on the Internet today,” Mahaney wrote in a research note this week.
But I have a hard time believing it wasn't profitable in 2015 either. Sure, if they re-invest most of it and pays out the rest to youtubers as a way to market the platform then you can pretend it is breaking even.
Oh, and yes, the difference in ads between now and 2015 is huge. Likely close to an order of magnitude where I am, but that probably greatly varies depending on which market you are in.