There is a space in the universe that is YouTube where content doesn’t involve creating something to be admired, where destruction and chaos are the order of the day. Welcome to the world of breaking things on camera — and getting paid for it.
by Marc Johnson
My earliest recollection of the destruction genre comes from Blendtec’s Will It Blend? videos, in which a procession of ill-fated tech items were sacrificed to the blender gods. I cringed at seeing pricey items being destroyed solely for entertainment value — and blender promotion.
But while I may cringe at the thought of my iPhone being torn to pieces by those vicious blades, there is indeed an audience for this type of content, indicated by the number of subscribers and views destruction-based YouTube channels generate. Upon seeing more of the new breed of tech destroying YouTube creators, the genre has actually grown on me. Whether it was the type of tech that was used or the unique way they found to test and destroy it, I became transfixed. There’s a part of me anticipating the major destructive scene, while a sliver of me always hopes that the tech will actually survive.
Some of the better YouTubers and channels creating this destructive drama I found are TechRax, who has an adolescent angst type of way to destroying things. Gizmoslip uses a special slow motion camera so you can see the detail in the destruction. FullMag uses military type weaponry and explosives to send his products to the afterlife. Then there is Wrecknology, who uses a unique mix of commentary, special guests and scripted content to highlight the destruction. The key to the entire setup involves tech items that people actually want or have like the latest iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, DJI Phantom or even the 10,000-dollar gold Apple watch. Seeing these types of items being pulverized in some creative ways is the draw and the drama. Yet how can these YouTubers continually make videos like these and have it make economic sense?
Profiting from Destruction
These YouTubers are in fact turning a profit off of these videos. Some of the well-known creators in this genre have their own way of destroying these fresh out of the box tech and do it on a regular basis. How are these channels possible? Are they sponsored videos featuring products gifted by the company? Sometimes, but the large majority of products you see meeting their end on YouTube were paid for with the creator’s own money.
To better understand, we need to look at the math. Though there are a number of factors to consider, the gross YouTube ad revenue from Google Adsense averages as much as 5 to 10 dollars, or even possibly 100 dollars per 1,000 views (CPM). You’ll still be splitting that with YouTube, but CPMs like that can bring in a significant sum on high performing videos.
Remember, these videos rack up the subscribers and views — in the millions in many cases. Say one of these YouTubers buys the new Samsung Galaxy S8 at around 800 dollars straight out of pocket. This purchase is an investment in hopes that the destructive video they have in mind will reach the number of views needed to at least recoup that money they shelled out. We’ll use a CPM of five dollars for this example, but again, this can vary widely. If their video reached 1 million views, the estimated YouTube ad revenue would be about 5,000 dollars (1,000,000 divided by 1,000 views x $5 cpm). With the standard split of 55/45, after YouTube’s 45 percent cut, the creator would earn about 2,750 dollars from that video ($5,000 x 0.55 = $2,750). By these estimates, the creator would be getting their money back and a tidy profit on top. To see what your favorite destructive YouTubers are making try www.socialblade.com, where you can get an approximate estimate to their regular earnings.
Wanna break some stuff?
At this point, if this seems to catch your fancy and you think you might take a venture creating your own YouTube Channel in this genre it will greatly depend on a few things. Most creators like TechRax and Gizmoslip have been creating videos for years and in a sense only within the last few years gained the notoriety after sticking it out with videos that may have not worked as well. To start now would mean investing regularly to purchase products to destroy in your own special way. You could try to sell back destroyed items, but if you have watched any of these videos there isn’t really anything left of value. Our advice would be to start small while you build up a following, then go for the big ticket items when you know you can get enough views recoup your costs.