70 percent of Canadian YouTube users say platform is their top learning source

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A new study conducted by experts at Toronto’s Ryerson University has found that 70 percent of Canadian YouTube users say the platform is the first media space they go to for learning.

The report, titled ‘Watchtime Canada‘ comes from researchers at Ryerson’s Faculty of Communication and Design (FCAD) and incorporates data from thousands of surveyed Canadian content creators and YouTube users.

“Our research suggests that YouTube is a unique learning accelerator within the Canadian system,” said Irene Berkowitz, PhD, Policy Research Fellow at the Audience Lab at FCAD, in a press release. “The seemingly never-ending array of learning and how-to content for everything from cooking to home repairs to learning new languages helps YouTube users in their multiple roles as citizens, learners, travellers, parents, caretakers and community participants.

Overall, YouTube has led to the introduction of 160,000 Canadian content creators over the past several years, according to the study. One-quarter of these creators have been able to monetize their channels as well.

Of the monetized YouTube channels, 15 percent have generated more than $50,000 CAD annually in gross revenue, 12 percent generate $75,000 or more, nine percent bring in $100,000 or more and six percent report $150,000 or more.

This has resulted in the creation of nearly 28,000 full-time equivalent jobs.

In terms of actual videos, the report noted that YouTube makes diversity more visible and prominent, bringing together content from different “genres, perspectives, voices, languages, geographies, genders, and ethnicities.”

For example, Lilly Singh, a Scarborough-born content creator of Indian descent, has a massive YouTube channel with nearly three billion views and has partnered with celebrities like Priyanka Chopra and The Rock. Singh has since gone onto sign a deal with NBC for a late-night talk show.

Similarly, St. Catherines, Ontario-born creator Lauren Riihimaki (or Japanese and Ukranian descent) has a lifestyle YouTube channel with one billion views.

“For Canadian consumers, YouTube is ‘MeTube’ – it’s free, it’s always on and it contains a seemingly endless catalogue of easily-searched topics,” said Berkowitz in the press release. “And Canadian YouTube users predict that their YouTube use will increase in the next five years.”

“We have seen a growing trend towards learning content on YouTube on a global basis over the past few years,” added Lucinda Barlow, YouTube Director of Marketing, in the same press release. “These research findings really underscore what we have seen in terms of people diving into their passions and engaging in lifelong learning through YouTube.”

The full report can be viewed here.