The number of YouTube channels with more than one million subscribers doubled in 2018, while the number of creators earning five or six figures in 2018 grew by 40%, according to CEO Susan Wojcicki.

The figures were revealed in a blog where she reviewed last year and gave her outlook on the year ahead. Priorities for YouTube in 2019, Wojcicki wrote, would encompass “supporting creator and artist success”, “improving communication and engagement”, and “living up to our responsibility”.

She added that the company believes “most” of the advertisers who deserted the platform after the controversy over advertisers being linked with vile content had now returned.

The platform has been working to strike a balance between brands that demand their ads are not placed in ways they deem inappropriate and damaging, with YouTube content creators who say some videos were incorrectly de-monetized.

For the most part, as 9to5Google pointed out, YouTube priorities for 2019 amount to a slimmed-down version of those for 2018.

Concrete developments in the past year included expanding YouTube Music and YouTube Premium to 29 countries from just five at the start of the year, and expanding diversified revenue streams through features such as Super Chat, Channel Memberships, Merchandise and Ticketing.

YouTube Studio will be made available to all content creators this year and new features will continue to be added, such as Known Issues, News widgets and additional metrics.

YouTube is also expanding its Explore feature, first trialled within the YouTube iPhone app last year, TechCrunch reported.

Rather like Instagram’s Explore page, the feature takes viewers on an algorithm-led content journey linked to what they are watching and have watched – a more sophisticated, and subtle version, of current recommendations.

It’s not without controversy, however, and has been blamed for taking viewers down something of a content rabbit hole that can lead to very strange places. The Daily Beast reported that it can even be directly linked to the noticeable rise in the number of flat earthers in the US!

Sourced from Google, 9to5Google, CNET, TechCrunch, Daily Beast; additional content by WARC staff