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With people watching more than a billion hours of YouTube video content daily (source) and popular channels making millions of dollars, it’s not surprising that many entrepreneurs are looking to YouTube as a way to make money online.
If you have a channel, you may be wondering if you can sell it. Or if you’re looking to start making money on YouTube, you might wonder if you can buy an existing channel rather than starting a new channel from scratch.
This article will answer all the common questions related to buying and selling YouTube channels.
Can You Buy or Sell a YouTube Channel?
Yes, you can buy or sell a YouTube channel. Some people wonder if it’s legal, and the answer is “yes.” A YouTube channel can be bought or sold, just like other types of online businesses. In fact, many channels have been sold.
A profitable channel is a valuable asset. While this has been the case for several years, it’s probably more true today than ever. With the rise in AI-generated content and the implementation of generative AI into search results, more buyers and investors may turn their attention to YouTube.
Of course, AI can be used to generate video, but the technology isn’t quite as advanced as AI writers, at least for now. YouTube videos that feature humans seem to be less susceptible to AI competition at the moment compared to written content. This could make YouTube channels more appealing to buyers than content-based websites and blogs.
Note: YouTube channels are often included as part of a website sale, just like other associated social media profiles. This article primarily concerns channels that do not have an associated website, or channels that are the primary focus of the business and the related website is secondary.
YouTube Channel Valuation: How Much a Channel is Worth
If you’re considering buying or selling a YouTube channel, you’ll need to determine its worth. Like other types of online businesses, average monthly profit is usually the most significant factor. Currently, websites and online businesses are typically valued somewhere between 24-42 times the average monthly profit.
Of course, there are exceptions, but this can serve as a helpful starting point. Trends (upward or downward) can impact the multiple that’s used. Growing channels may be valued at the higher end of the range, and declining channels may be valued at the lower end.
Several other factors can also impact the valuation, including:
Is It Monetized?
It’s possible to sell a small channel that hasn’t been monetized yet, but it’s difficult to determine the value without profit. There’s more variation, and it really depends on the potential buyer.
However, a monetized YouTube channel clearly has value. Not only is it making money through ads, but it also allows the buyer to skip the entire process of getting to the point where the channel can be monetized.
It takes a lot of time, effort, and (sometimes) financial investment to reach the qualifications for monetizing a channel. A buyer may choose to acquire a monetized channel to jump straight to profitability.
Empire Flippers offers an excellent (and free) website or business valuation tool. It only takes a few minutes to enter the details of your business, and you'll get a report on the estimated value. You don't even have to talk to anyone! It's my favorite tool for online business valuations.
How Many Subscribers Does It Have?
The number of subscribers is also important when valuing a YouTube channel. An existing base of subscribers can be extremely valuable, as it cuts down on the amount of marketing required to promote new content and drive views.
Also, channels with large numbers of subscribers tend to get more views per video than small channels. This can impact ad revenue and make the channel more attractive to sponsors. The larger the base of subscribers, the more a YouTube channel will likely be worth (all other factors being equal).
However, it’s important to point out that not all subscribers are actively engaged and that subscriber counts can be faked. Buyers need to look at other factors, such as engagement rates and average watch time, in addition to subscriber counts.
Is There a Face Associated With It?
YouTube channels are often closely associated with the person or people in the videos. If you appear in all of your videos, a potential buyer may be concerned about what will happen when you’re no longer in the videos. Will your subscribers and followers lose interest, or will they continue watching?
That’s not to say you can’t sell a channel that features you and your face. It may impact the valuation, but it really depends on the buyer their specific concerns.
One way around this is to include a transition period into the sale. For example, you could agree to stay on for a few months and work with the new owner to transition the videos before the sale is announced. You could start including the buyer or someone they hire in videos so viewers get used to them before you leave entirely.
How Many Videos Does the Channel Have?
The number of videos on a YouTube channel is also a factor. A channel with more videos will be worth more than one with fewer videos, all other things being equal. For example, a channel with 200 quality videos is likely worth more than a channel with 20 videos, assuming the other details are the same.
The Quality of Videos
The quality of the videos also plays a role in the valuation. Poorly produced videos will have lower views and engagement than more polished videos, leading to lower ad revenue and fewer sponsorship opportunities.
Does the Channel Have Any Strikes Against It?
If a legitimate copyright complaint is made against a channel’s video, it will receive a strike. Strikes expire after 90 days, but if a channel gets three strikes within 90 days, the channel will be terminated.
Because of the severity and potential impacts, any current (non-expired) strikes can negatively impact the channel’s value.
If you’re buying a channel, be sure to check for strikes before moving forward.
How to Sell Your YouTube Channel
If you want to sell your channel, here’s the process you can follow.
1. Determine the Channel’s Value
First, you need to determine what you think the channel is worth. Every potential buyer will have their own method of deciding what they’re willing to pay, but you need know what it’s worth to you and what you’ll accept.
Start by calculating the average monthly profit over the past year (monthly revenue minus expenses). If your channel is new or growing quickly, you may want to use the average of the last six months instead.
Then, choose the multiple that you think is appropriate, probably somewhere between 30-48 times the average monthly profit. That’s a big range, so you’ll need to determine what the site is worth to you.
It’s a good idea to get a free valuation from an online business broker. Whether you decide to use the broker or not, you’ll get a professional’s opinion about your channel’s value. Here are a few resources you can try:
If you’re looking for a reputable broker, I highly recommend Brad Wayland from Quiet Light. Brad has sold two websites for me, and I can’t say enough good things about him. Brad also offers a free valuation, and you can get in touch with him here.
2. Choose a Broker or Marketplace
Once you know how much money you’d like to get for your YouTube channel, you can choose a broker or marketplace to list it for sale. It’s worth noting that not all brokers and marketplaces deal with YouTube channels, but many do.
Marketplaces help you get exposure for your listing if you want to take a DIY approach. Brokers offer full-service treatment, including marketing your listing and negotiating with potential buyers.
Although broker fees tend to be higher than marketplace listing fees, brokers can often get a higher price for the business. Ultimately, what matters the most is how much money you come away with, and a good broker may be able to increase what you take home even after the fees.
To see some of the leading options, check my article on the top website marketplaces and brokers.
Best for Sites Making at Least $5k Per Month
Best for Sites Making at Least $2k Per Month
Best for Sites Making Less Than $2k Per Month
3. Connect With Potential Buyers
After you list your YouTube channel, it’s time to start connecting with potential buyers. If you’re working with a broker, this is handled for you. The broker will market your business to their audience to find a buyer.
Potential buyers will usually want to talk with you, probably via Zoom or Google Meet, to meet you and ask whatever questions they have.
4. Receive Offers
Potential buyers who are interested in moving forward will submit formal offers. If you’re working with a broker, the offer will be sent to the broker, and then the broker will present the offer to you. You can accept the offer as is, decline it, or counteroffer.
Negotiating the sale price and details can take time in some cases (especially with larger deals), but it’s important to be patient and stay focused on your goal.
A good broker can help you throughout the process, but it’s ultimately your decision as to whether you accept an offer.
5. Complete the Sale
Once you accept an offer, the deal will move into the due diligence stage. Here, the buyer will have a chance to verify the details you’ve presented, including income and expenses. You may need to provide details like bank, PayPal, and credit card statements, plus proof of income. For larger deals, tax returns may be required.
After the buyer has had time to verify all the details, it’s time to complete the sale. The time needed for due diligence can vary, but it can often be completed within a week or two from the time the buyer gets the documents.
The entire process, from acceptance of the offer to closing, often takes about a month, but this can vary. Again, larger deals often take more time. If you’re working with a broker, they’ll work with you throughout the deal until it’s finalized.
An escrow account is often used for the transition. The buyer deposits money into the escrow account, which is released to the seller after the transition has been completed. Escrow helps to protect both the buyer and the seller.
How to Buy a YouTube Channel
If you’re looking to buy a YouTube channel, the first thing you want to consider is your budget. Once you know how much you can spend, it’s time to start looking for the channel you want to buy.
You can browse marketplaces and broker listings to see YouTube channels for sale, but you’ll find many more content-based websites and e-commerce sites than YouTube channels. If you don’t want to rely on marketplaces or brokers, you can also reach out to YouTube channel owners directly to see if they’re interested in selling.
If you find a channel owner who’s interested in selling, you’ll need to get the relevant details, like their revenue and expenses. And if you decide that you’d like to move forward, you can make an offer.
Finding a channel on your own rather than using a marketplace or a broker may save you some money, but it usually requires a lot of work.
How to Transfer Ownership of Your YouTube Channel
Fortunately, changing ownership of a YouTube channel is pretty simple. There are actually two different ways you can do it.
YouTube channels are linked to Google Accounts. One option is to transfer ownership of the Google Account listed as the channel owner. The buyer can log in to the account and change the details like name, phone number, recovery email, and password.
The other option is to transfer ownership to another Google account (this is possible if the channel is registered as a brand). To do it this way, the seller will invite the buyer to be an admin on the account. The buyer will then login, set their account as the primary owner of the channel, and remove the seller.
Profitable YouTube channels are valuable assets, and just like other online businesses, they are legal to sell. Google and YouTube have no restrictions that prevent channels from being sold or transferred between buyers and sellers.
With the continued rise in popularity of video content, a YouTube channel may be just as valuable or even more valuable than a website with written content. I expect more people to buy YouTube channels over the next few years.
Whether you’re buying or selling a YouTube channel, good luck!
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