The Sunday Mail
THEY are the go-to guys when one wants to have a good laugh.
They are always churning out hilarious skits based on trending issues in society. But unlike other comics doing the same thing, this crew knows how to make a living off their jokes. At the mention of Bustop TV, one sees Gonyeti and Magi pulling off a crazy skit, it is ok, laugh out loud.
Bustop TV has over the years not only attracted cash inflows from corporates that advertise through their skits, but have also made good moolah by monetising their channel on social media platform, YouTube, from which their content is viewed by over 21 000 subscribers.
Just to take a slight detour, YouTube monetisation means that an uploader authorises the presence of advertisements on their videos and YouTube charges advertisers for these and shares the fees with the uploader, allowing them to make some money from people viewing your videos.
Back to the Bustop TV case. Towards the end of last year, the comedians decided to cash in on the money that was accumulating in their account and they took home a cheque of more than US$3 500, which they used to purchase a mini bus.
“We monetised our YouTube channel in 2016. Unfortunately we knew about monetising a bit late and it is only when a friend, Munya Blogo told us about the whole process that we then monetised the channel,” said Bustop TV founder, Lucky Aaroni.
“During our days of ignorance regarding this money making idea, I believe we lost a lot of revenue as many people who were aware of how to make money from YouTube were busy uploading our content on the channels whilst we were celebrating resounding views on Facebook.”
Aaroni says after his colleague had appraised him regards social media monetisation and he had done his research on the whole process, the real war began.
“After monetising the channel and the subscribers were increasing on a daily basis, we realised that there was need to jealously guard our content from people who were uploading on their channels.
“To curb losing revenue from the pirates, we made it a policy that each week we would reserve time to hunt the pirates down and report them, resulting in their channels being shut down if they had ignored the warnings from YouTube,” he revealed.
So how many views were they getting to gross US$3 500 after YouTube took its percentage.
“The most viewed skit in 2017 had over 200 000 views but the money was an accumulation of all the videos we uploaded from 2016 when we monetised,” he said.
On why they chose to buy a bus instead of more cameras or invest in other things he said, “The type of work we do means we need to be mobile as we have expanded from just being skit makers to a registered, fully integrated production company that caters for all aspects of creative audio visual communication.”
Come 2018, YouTube has changed the dynamics as to who can monetise on their platform. Previously, one needed just 100 subscribers on their channel but now they need to have a minimum of 1000 subscribers and 4 000 hours of view time in the past year.
Though this has not been received well by many smaller uploaders on the platform, Bustop TV is happy with the move.
“This new measure means that the people who were using our content to get money from adverts have been reduced. Most of the remaining uploaders are those that are pushing their original content,” said Aaroni.
Meanwhile, Bustop TV has been scooping awards across the board for their sterling pioneering work.
“This year we had two Nama nominations, another nomination for Tribe of Influencers in the category Vlogger of the Year and two Zimbabwe Top Business Brand Award nominations as well.
“Besides the awards, we have a number of new concepts we are developing and among them is a collaboration with Bustop TV, PO Box Reloaded and Dream State Pictures.”