A month ago Hank and John Green, better known as the VlogBrothers, announced that they would be introducing pre-roll ads on their extremely popular main channel. It’s a choice they had impressively avoided until recently despite that fact that pre-roll ads are the most lucrative monetization option offered by YouTube. The Greens are mainstays of the YouTube community with a host of accomplishments under their belts — from Emmy-nominated web series to best-selling books that are currently spawning a line of hit movies. All of this was achieved through YouTube without the use of the platform’s most efficient revenue tool. So why the change?
The VlogBrothers’ channel has over 2.3 million subscribers, meaning that pre-roll ads could bring in a significant chunk of money. In keeping with the spirit of Nerdfighteria, the altruistic fan community that the Greens preside over, the brothers have decided to use those funds to endow a grant for independent creators who aim to make a positive change in the world. Today Hank Green unveiled the first recipient of the Nerdfighter Indie Creator Grant, Kelly Kend. Kelly is a filmmaker whose grant funded project “Yeah, Maybe No” deals with consent and sexual assault. Those topics are likely close to the Green Brothers minds given the consent scandals that unfolded earlier this year, leading to two prominent creators Tom Milsom and Alex Day being dropped from The Green’s indie music label DFTBA Records.
Hank and John have a long history of translating their YouTube success into philanthropic undertakings. The most visible of these is the annual Project For Awesome which this year raised over $800,000 for charity. The brothers also lend their huge social media megaphone to give lift to important social causes and creators with a desire to educate. For a YouTube community that is often subject to charges of vanity and self-involvement these efforts provide an important counter-point.