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With Covid Crushing Advertising, YouTubers Turn to Subscriptions

The number of YouTube creators who no longer rely on advertising for the majority of their income is growing fast.


Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg

Two days before his first trip abroad since the coronavirus pandemic began, Jerry Dyer went live on YouTube to discuss his itinerary. Dyer is a middle-aged British entrepreneur who makes a living by filming videos of planes taking off and landing. Big Jet TV, his entertainment company catering to hardcore airplane enthusiasts, has attracted more than 85,000 devoted followers on YouTube.

Sporting a Big Jet T-shirt and hat, Dyer told his fans about his upcoming plans for visiting Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, the third-busiest transit hub in Europe. He discussed the finer points of its runways and identified the big goal of the adventure: laying eyes on a juicy Emirates 747 freighter. He gestured to a map of the airport. “Just look at that,” he said. “That’s the Dutch — a whole parking lot there specifically for plane spotters.”