How to Mathematically (and Practically) Get 4000 Hours of Watch Time on YouTube This Year As A Small Creator

YouTube requires your channel to have 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watchtime with the past 12 months to have monetization.
  1. Each video you make, gets the minimum amount of views needed AND was watched all the way through by each of these views. We’ll call these views “pure views” because this assumes that they were watched in their entirety.
  2. Since videos stay around forever, older videos can increase in views randomly and consistently throughout the year, so since this math would be extremely complicated, we’re not talking about that.
  • We know that 4,000 hours of Watch Time is equal to 240,000 minutes.
  • We also know that YouTube prefers 10 minute long videos. So 10 minutes will be the baseline for part of our discussion.

Let’s Begin!

  • 240,000 videos at 10 minutes long, with each getting 1 view. This is impossible.
  • 2,400 videos at 10 minutes long, with each getting 10 views. This is also pretty unreasonable.
  • 240 videos at 10 minutes long, with each getting 100 views.

Now we’re talking.

But let’s get even crazier.

The longer your video is, the less views you’ll need to get the required 4,000 hours of Watch Time.
The less videos you put out, the more views you need to have to reach the required 4,000 hours of Watch Time.
  • What types of videos can I make that are extremely sharable OR would be watched if you shared them in the right place?
  • Find things that people haven’t covered yet. Do something unique. Yes, it’s easier said than done and I’m learning this myself, but every time I’ve ever done an off-the-wall video, the views have been much higher.
  • Consider diversifying your content. If you’re a Let’s Player, do Live Streams and other types of Gaming Content. If you’re an animator, Live Stream your animating sessions, and do behind-the-scenes videos. If you’re a musician, do covers, record raw sessions of your music, and Live Stream gigs or performances.
  • In fact, LIVE STREAM. This past year on my gaming channel, I had 1,566 hours of Watch Time. The Top 10 most watched videos only made up 24% of my entire watch time AND 8/10 of those were Live Streams. Live Streams will get you more watch time.
  • Consider doing a weekly podcast in your niche. On my Main Channel, 91% of my watch time in the past 5 months came from my Top 10 most watched videos. 5/10 of those were podcasts. Chances are you know something about your niche and can provide some kind of value there.
  • Above all else, make good content. Too many people focus on the numbers and don’t realize that maybe they still need to work on learning how to make good videos. I was there once and I still have plenty of room to grow. I’m sure you do too.

Now we have to go back to the word problem:

Experiment with it, but most of all, execute it!

You have to believe in yourself.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store