Niche Knowledge #1: Code Blue Cam
Welcome to the first edition of a new series I’m starting called Niche Knowledge. A series devoted to covering all sorts of fascinating and lucrative business niches where real people have found huge success.
These niches won’t be only limited to online ventures, but I’ll be concentrating mainly on YouTube and other web content at least to start. I’m fascinated by the idea of ordinary people starting a simple business like a website that becomes worth millions. It’s something I always wished I could do. I was always told you had to pick a specific niche if you wanted to succeed. But I could never just pick one. So I decided why not investigate all of them? Or at least as many as I can.
I hope you enjoy these niche profiles, and become inspired to start a business of your own. Each profile will have an overview of the business, how it works, and of course a look into how much money it makes. I’d like to perhaps do interviews with creators in the future also, but we’ll see.
First up is a YouTube channel I discovered a few months ago and have enjoyed watching: Code Blue Cam.
Code Blue Cam obtains primarily cop cam footage through Public Records Requests, according to its About page. The channel is not affiliated with law enforcement, and sometimes fees are required to acquire police footage.
According to the website Social Blade, which tracks statistics for YouTube channels, Twitter, Twitch, TikTok, and others, Code Blue Cam currently has 155 uploads. Many of the videos come from police encounters and arrests with DUI suspects, police car and foot chases, drug busts, fugitives on the run, domestic violence, and even occassionally a celebrity confrontation. The video of Odell Beckham Jr getting kicked off an airplane has racked up 3.6 million views, for instance. It’s all pretty exciting stuff.
It’s not hard to see why this channel has found a big audience. Even after the TV show COPS got cancelled in 2020, people are still obsessed with watching the long arm of the law catch suspects. Code Blue Cam’s most popular video is one titled “Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Run From the Cops,” with 19 million views. Most uploads are in the million plus range. The thumbnails are typically just screenshots from the footage. No emojis or click bait. The video titles tend to be pretty straightforward, with sometimes a tinge of humor.
As of now, Code Blue Cam has 1.36 million subscribers. While it started back in 2015, it has seen the majority of its uploads and success in just the last few years. That’s remarkable growth in just a short period of time.
So, how has Code Blue Cam monetized its success? Obviously, the channel makes an income through Adsense. Social Blade estimates the channel makes anywhere from $7,200 — $115,000 a month, and $86,300 to $1,400,000 a year.
In addition to Adsense, Code Blue Cam has a Patreon page, with 491 patrons kicking in $5 (the only tier available) a month. That adds up to an additional $2,455 a month, and potentially $29,460 a year. The channel also sells t-shirts and other merch through its website. In addition, some of its videos include paid sponsors and affiliate links.
Even if the Adsense income is somewhere in the middle of Social Blade’s estimate, at around $500,000 a year, when you add in all the other revenue sources, Code Blue Cam has done quite well in the law enforcement video niche. This is no doubt due in part to regularly posting cleanly edited and often high-definition videos, as well as the channel’s dedicated, justice-seeking community. Freshly posted videos often generate thousands of comments very quickly.
Important to note: Not only do police videos draw in a lot of views, they tend to be watched thoroughly due to several attractive elements. The escalatation in the encounter that often leads to a chase. The final arrest. And in some cases, the suspect’s freakout after being placed in the back seat of a squad car or at the jail. It creates a nice “story arc” of sorts, with rising tension, conflict expection, payoff, and spectacle. Important ingredients that keep people watching.
From an SEO perspective, if a cop cam video you post ranks for a particular news story, that has the possibility of generating a lot of organic views from Google over the long haul. Think of the Odell Beckham Jr. video I mentioned earlier. When that story broke, videos showing the incident almost certainly got a huge spike in views. Even smaller channels likely got a nice bump. Afterall, you want to not only post video content that an audience will want, but will keep you relevant in the search rankings.
The cop cam niche also has another nice element from a creator perspective. You don’t have to show your face. In fact, you don’t have to share any personal identifying information whatsoever. Code Blue Cam even uses a voice over artist to narrate portions of the videos.
This niche allows you to draw on an endless amount of content. There will always be arrests and police chases, unfortunately. These sorts of videos have a good chance for virality.
Another reason for Code Blue Cam’s success is in its strong and distinct branding. You know exactly what you’re going to get just from the logo and name. If you’re into watching cop cam videos, there’s a good chance you’ll watch a video in your feed when it pops up, and maybe even subscribe.
Code Blue Cam shows no signs of slowing down. It demonstrates that the cop cam niche is a strong and very lucrative one, that pretty much anyone can start.
What do you think of Code Blue Cam and the cop cam niche in general? Is it one you’ve ever considered starting yourself? What else do you think is responsible for its success?
Thanks for reading.