Charles Goulding and Preeti Sulibhavi examine the role of YouTube in empowering those interested in exploring 3D printing.
YouTube: Reaching Out To You
On Valentine’s Day in 2005, Chad Hurley, Jawed Karim, and Steven Chen founded YouTube. A few months later, a small group of new employees beta tested the website www.youtube.com. In October 2006, Google acquired YouTube for $1.65 billion, and the much talked-about deal made history.
Where it began as an amateur video footage site, YouTube has now become a leading advertising platform with a wide range of content. YouTube is also a place where people can watch TV show content, with debatably more variety than traditional cable television. With more than 1.5 billion users, YouTube has now also entered the streaming services market alongside Netflix and Hulu.
YouTube is owned by Alphabet, Inc., which does not reveal advertising revenue generated through YouTube. Nearly all of YouTube’s annual revenue is derived from advertising so not directly reporting this leads to estimated numbers as figures. In 2010 YouTube’s annual advertising revenue was estimated at $1 billion. Today, estimates are now above $10 billion, with Business Insider estimating as much as $15 billion in 2018 alone.
YouTube: A Platform to Produce Innovative 3D Printing Ideas
The expansive growth of YouTube appears to be aligned with the growth of 3D printing over the past decade. Both YouTube and 3D printing have taken off as innovative technologies used in a vast array of applications and industries. In addition, both complement each other in that 3D printing by its very nature is a subject matter highly conducive to YouTube content. 3D printing is visually stunning, with bright colors, patterns and shapes. This is a visual aesthetic that is perfect for streaming on YouTube as it can be a vehicle or platform to present offerings on various crowdsourcing/crowdfunding sites.
3D printing “how-to” videos are already available on YouTube. However, utilizing the video-sharing/streaming platform for uploading to crowdsourcing sites is a novel way to optimize a successful 3D printing pitch. In 2015 alone, an estimated $34 billion was raised by global crowdfunding. Four of the top 20 crowdfunding sites are: Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Patreon, and GoFundMe. The videos uploaded can be through the YouTube platform and be linked as well.
3D printing is one of the most popular crowdsource funding categories. Kickstarter has hundreds of 3D printing projects available on their site alone. People seeking 3D printing crowdsource funding, whether it be for a new 3D printer or a 3D printed product, can typically present a better “pitch” by presenting their offering via a YouTube video. Users can upload YouTube videos to crowdfunding sites from their YouTube accounts, to make their cases for their innovative 3D printing ideas and show their reality. These videos would also be available to the general public as an added incentive.
The Research & Development Tax Credit
Enacted in 1981, the now permanent Federal Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credit allows a credit that typically ranges from 4%-7% of eligible spending for new and improved products and processes. Qualified research must meet the following four criteria:
Must be technological in nature
Must be a component of the taxpayer’s business
Must represent R&D in the experimental sense and generally includes all such costs related to the development or improvement of a product or process
Must eliminate uncertainty through a process of experimentation that considers one or more alternatives
Eligible costs include U.S. employee wages, cost of supplies consumed in the R&D process, cost of pre-production testing, U.S. contract research expenses, and certain costs associated with developing a patent.
On December 18, 2015, President Obama signed the PATH Act, making the R&D Tax Credit permanent. Beginning in 2016, the R&D credit can be used to offset Alternative Minimum tax for companies with revenue below $50MM and for the first time, startup businesses can obtain up to $250,000 per year in payroll taxes and cash rebates.
YouTube and 3D Printing: Ahead of the Curve
YouTube offers various services to its users through different applications or versions of its platform. For streaming music there is YouTube Red (a sophisticated on-demand music platform), for streaming TV they have YouTube TV, and for creators there is YouTube Studio. There is no good reason not to use YouTube as the vehicle to pitch 3D printing ideas on key crowdfunding websites. This can revolutionize the way TED Talks and other online educational forums introduce content into their sites as well.
TED Talks feature influential videos from expert speakers on a variety of topics such as: education, business, climate change, etc. Topics related to 3D printing are already omnipresent on the TED Talks website. Topics range from, “What’s next in 3D printing,” to “How 3D printing can save millions of lives.” The idea to bring together a global forum to discuss relevant topics and issues would be better served if TED Talks combined efforts with YouTube. A collaborative effort would advance the 3D printing industry and its relevance in today’s ever-changing world.