YouTube shares ad revenue with top content creators. "I'm able to make a living doing just this," says Dane Boedigheimer, whose The Annoying Orange  has been the No. 1 web show since February 2010.
The Annoying Orange, Next New Networks, Machinima, Nigahiga, The Young Turks
"This has been a game changer for us," says Chris Maxcy, YouTube's head of music partnerships. Live-streaming concerts have drawn between 5 million and 10 million live views. YouTube teamed up with Vevo and American Express in 2010 for its Unstaged series.
Bon Jovi, U2, the National, Alicia Keys, Arcade fire, John Legend & The Roots
The IPL, a short-form cricket league in India, pulled in 55 million views during its first season on YouTube. "It helped us engage brands that were not talking to us in the past," says Gautam Anand, Google's director of content partnerships in Asia.
IPL; Major League Baseball
YouTube has given rise to a generation of teaching stars. Makeup artist Michelle Phan's tutorial on Lady Gaga's "Poker Face"  look has racked up 24 million views and paved the way for Phan's deals with Colgate, Lancôme, and others.
Michelle Phan (makeup), Sal Khan (math), ViewDo (Guitar)
YouTube tries to offer longer-form content not available elsewhere. WWE posts full episodes of Friday Night Smackdown to YouTube 24 hours after airing them on TV. "We're making six figures a month" in ad revenue, says Brian Kalinowski, WWE's EVP of digital media.
WWE, Striker, Sundance Film Festival, BBC Channels 4 and 5
Advertising As Content
To promote its Trivial Pursuit: Bet You Know It edition, Hasbro ads pit users against YouTube stars, generating more than 250 million impressions.
Kraft (Paula Deen), Hasbro, The Last Exorcism
The U.S. home page's 18 million daily visitors give brands "big impact to a concentrated audience," says Joel Lunenfeld, CEO of Moxie Interactive, which has created home-page ads for Verizon and Avatar.
Verizon, Hasbro, Kraft, Dreamworks, FOx
Like sponsored ads on Google, promoted videos pop up around search results. Advertisers pay only when users click play.
Evian, Panasonic, Stouffer's, Wrigley, Maybelline
To prevent hosting illegally posted videos, YouTube learned how to identify them. Copyright owners -- including early adopter CBS -- decide whether to take down the video or sell ads against it. One-third of YouTube's 2 billion monetized views each week come from Content ID.
CBS, Lionsgate (Mad Men ), Sony
Call-to-action spots with videos can transform viewers into consumers: Monty Python videos directed viewers to the troupe's DVDs on Amazon, increasing sales 23,000%.
Cee Lo Green (iTunes), Monty Python (Amazon), Charity: Water
YouTube gives brands a lot of latitude, including breaking the fourth wall. For The Expendables, Sylvester Stallone shoots the site to smithereens and talks to viewers. Channels "allow us a flexibility like no other in engaging a user," says Dimitry Ioffe, CEO of the Visionaire Group.
Lionsgate (The Expendables), Samsung, Tipp-Ex
Google predicts these digital billboards will add more video and become more social in the next few years, turning into a $50 billion industry.
Blizzard Entertainment, HTC, Absolut, Volvo