How Much Do the World’s Biggest YouTubers Make?

Before the rise of the Internet, television, or even photography, it used to be difficult — if not impossible — for most people to become famous. If you were lucky, you might’ve been well-known in your town, but good luck spreading your fame further than that.

And throughout most of history, very little was known about famous people. Your name itself might be famous, but most people would have no clue what you looked like. For instance, historians don’t know much of anything about Cleopatra’s appearance, despite her being famous for her beauty (and even that “fact” is somewhat in doubt).

In the 21st century though, you can share your appearance with the world at the click of a button — and fame is a much more attainable goal for anyone with Internet access.

Social media has revolutionized the way celebrities are created. Instead of being relegated to just politicians, billionaires, or popular actors, fame is possible for anyone (or their dog or cat).

And instead of money leading to fame, it often happens the other way around… especially on Youtube.

While a big audience on other social media platforms might be leveraged with some effort to make a bit of money, it’s much easier to earn money on YouTube with their built-in advertising program. Once you set it up, the more views you get on your videos, the more money you earn.

It may not seem like a sure way to earn a full-time living, but we wondered just how much money some of the biggest YouTubers could be earning.

Turns out, it’s a whole lot more than we thought.

Check out the infographic below for the our estimates on how much money the top earners on YouTube are making — and get ready to start making your own videos so you can strike it rich, too!

How Much Do The World’s Biggest YouTubers Make?

YouTube has proved to be a mecca for gamers, comedians and more to flaunt their skills – and it’s created a new breed of internet millionaires.

Estimated Monthly Earnings

All monthly earnings are approximations calculated by YouTube analytics company Social Blade.

Their method involves taking a low cost per 1,000 impression (CPM) rate of $0.50 and high rate of $4, and multiplying it by the number of daily views.

Shortcomings of this method include:

  • Assumes all YouTube views are monetized
  • Does not take into account tax owed
  • Does not take into account cuts taken from partnerships with other entities

The ranges below use the upper and lower limits of the YouTuber’s estimated earnings. Their real earnings are likely to fall somewhere in the middle.

1. PewDiePie

  • Real Name: Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg
  • Unique Selling Point: PewDiePie’s online gaming exploits, invariably accompanied by a potty-mouthed commentary, are beloved by his ‘bro army’.
  • Channel Genre: Gaming, Comedy
  • Number of Subscribers: ~35,700,000
  • Number of Views: 7.3 billion +
  • Estimated Monthly Earnings: $172k – $1.4m
  • Good to Know: In 2014 Kjellberg and his followers raised over $630,000 for Save the Children.

2. TheEllenShow

  • YouTube Name: TheEllenShow
  • Real Name: Ellen DeGeneres
  • Unique Selling Point: Everyone loves Ellen, and if they don’t, they probably don’t know who she is. The channel showcases clips from the comedienne’s chat show.
  • Channel Genre: Comedy, Social Commentary, Music
  • Number of Subscribers: ~10,600,000
  • Number of Views: 3.4 billion +
  • Estimated Monthly Earnings: $57.3k – $458.9k
  • Good to Know: Her famous Oscars selfie set a new record for retweets, with over 1 million in 1 hour.

3. TheFineBros

  • YouTube Name: TheFineBros
  • Real Name: Benny and Rafi Fine
  • Unique Selling Point: Wide-ranging online comedy content from these multi-skilled and massively influential New Yorkers.
  • Channel Genre: Comedy
  • Number of Subscribers: ~11,100,000
  • Number of Views: 2.5 billion +
  • Estimated Monthly Earnings: $47.9k – $383k
  • Good to Know: Their years of success and championing of new online talent has seen them called ‘uncles’ or ‘grandfathers’ of YouTube.

4. Smosh

  • YouTube Name: Smosh
  • Real Name: Ian Andrew Hecox and Anthony Padilla
  • Unique Selling Point: The scattergun wit of this fierce duo, who met when they were 12, has seen them conquer various formats and channels.
  • Channel Genre: Comedy
  • Number of Subscribers: ~19,500,000
  • Number of Views: 3.9 billion +
  • Estimated Monthly Earnings: $41k – $328.1k
  • Good to Know: Smoshing is “The act of making, viewing, and/or congregating around content with like-minded individuals”.

5. Porta Dos Fundos

  • YouTube Name: Porta Dos Fundos (Back Door)
  • Real Name: Fabio Porchat, Antonio Pedro Tabet, Gregorio Duvivier, Joao Vicente de Castro and Ian SBF
  • Unique Selling Point: Brazilian comedy skits in a format similar to Funny or Die, only in Portuguese.
  • Channel Genre: Comedy
  • Number of Subscribers: ~9,200,000
  • Number of Views: 1.2 billion +
  • Estimated Monthly Earnings: $29.1k – $232.9k
  • Good to Know: Many large companies have partnered with Porta Dos Fundos, seeing jokes at their expense as good publicity.

6. HolaSoyGerman

  • YouTube Name: HolaSoyGerman
  • Real Name: German Garmendia
  • Unique Selling Point: Comedy skits with fast-paced editing and bags of creativity have made German one of the Spanish-speaking world’s biggest online stars.
  • Channel Genre: Comedy
  • Number of Subscribers: ~20,700,000
  • Number of Views: 1.6 billion +
  • Estimated Monthly Earnings: $27.4k – $218.9k
  • Good to Know: German moved to LA to try to become an actor.

7. Machinima

  • YouTube Name: Machinima
  • Real Name: Hugh Hancock, Allen DeBevoise
  • Unique Selling Point: Essentially, they create animated stories manipulated from video-game technology. They’re pioneers in a massively popular subculture.
  • Channel Genre: Comedy, Film-making
  • Number of Subscribers: ~12,200,000
  • Number of Views: 5.2 billion +
  • Estimated Monthly Earnings: $18.2 – $146k
  • Good to Know: The name ‘Machinima’ is a fusion of machine and cinema.

8. ERB

  • YouTube Name: ERB (Epic Rap Battles of History)
  • Real Name: Peter Shukoff (aka Nice Peter) and Lloyd Ahlquist (aka EpicLLOYD)
  • Unique Selling Point: These ludicrously entertaining rap battles between historical figures are not only insanely catchy, with some great rhymes, but informative too, double-WIN!
  • Channel Genre: Comedy, Music, Education
  • Number of Subscribers: ~11,600,000
  • Number of Views: 1.4 billion +
  • Estimated Monthly Earnings: $16.8k – $134.4k
  • Good to Know: Each battle takes the team a whole month to put together.

9. RosannaPansino

  • YouTube Name: Rosanna Pansino
  • Real Name: Rosanna Pansino
  • Unique Selling Point: Her show, Nerdy Nummies, evolved from a baking and gaming mash-up into one of the web’s most popular cookery channels.
  • Channel Genre: Cookery
  • Number of Subscribers: ~3,100,000
  • Number of Views: 552 million +
  • Estimated Monthly Earnings: $14.2k – $113.8k
  • Good to Know: One of YouTube’s shortest celebs, she stacks up to only 4’ 10” tall.

10. NigaHiga

  • YouTube Name: Nigahiga
  • Real Name: Ryan Higa
  • Unique Selling Point: As well as producing numerous popular comedy skits and studying film in Nevada, Higa is also a black belt in Judo.
  • Channel Genre: Comedy, Film-making
  • Number of Subscribers: ~13,500,000
  • Number of Views: 2 billion +
  • Estimated Monthly Earnings: $13.8k – $111.5k
  • Good to Know: Higa was a judge on ‘Internet Icon’, a YouTube talent show that searches for the next big thing on the internet.

11. RayWilliamJohnson

  • YouTube Name: RayWilliamJohnson
  • Real Name: Ray William Johnson
  • Unique Selling Point: Ray helms Equals Three, giving a sharp commentary on the latest viral videos. Guests have included several big-name comedians.
  • Channel Genre: Comedy; Social Commentary
  • Number of Subscribers: ~10,800,000
  • Number of Views: 2.8 billion +
  • Estimated Monthly Earnings: $12.2k – $97.6k
  • Good to Know: Johnson ‘retired’ from YouTube in May 2014, but his show will continue with a new host.

12. JennaMarbles

  • YouTube Name: Jenna Marbles
  • Real Name: Jenna Mourey
  • Unique Selling Point: Providing inspired, often inebriated advice and social commentary, Jenna became a smash hit after uploading a guide on how to apply makeup while drunk.
  • Channel Genre: Comedy
  • Number of Subscribers: ~14,500,000
  • Number of Views: 1.6 billion +
  • Estimated Monthly Earnings: $13.8k – $94.3k
  • Good to Know: Marbles is the name of Jenna’s pet Chihuahua.

YouTube is a powerful media platform, and these characters have been key to its success.

The celebrity revolution will not be televised – it’ll all be on YouTube instead.

Figures correct as of January 6th, 2015.

Sources

  • Youtube Statistics by Social Blade – socialblade.com
  • PewDiePie Celebrates His 25 Million Youtube Subscriber Milestone by Supporting Save the Children – savethechildren.org
  • About Us – smosh.com
  • the Woman with 1 Billion Clicks, Jenna Marbles – nytimes.com
  • ‘Internet Icon’ Aims for Virality – variety.com
  • Machinima – youtube.wikia.com
  • Ray William Johnson Announces the Return of ‘Equals Three’ With New Mystery Host – newmediarockstars.com
  • How Epic Rap Battles of History Became Accidentally Educational – blogs.ocweekly.com
  • Ellen DeGeneres’ Oscars Selfie Beats Obama Retweet Record on Twitter – theguardian.com
  • Spoiler Alert: The Fine Brothers Are Rising Stars Online – streamingmedia.com
  • in the Land of Telenovelas, a Youtube Channel Gives a Glimpse of Scripted Entertainment’s Future – forbes.com
  • GermáN Garmendia Of “Hi I’m German”: The Chilean Sweeping the Internet with His Humor of the Everyday – elcomercio.pe
  • YouTube Creator Stories: How Rosanna Pansino Created the Perfect Recipe for YouTube Success – thinkwithgoogle.com
  • Rosanna Pansino Biography – imdb.com

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