YouTube millionaires: How are they earning so much money from video?

Digital Spy

Digital Spy By Monday, Feb 16 2015

When YouTube launched 10 years ago, no-one knew how it was going to survive. Video – especially back then – was enormously expensive, and YouTube was hosting it for free, attracting an millions per day. Google bought the startup a mere year later, turning it into a juggernaut of content that has amassed over 1 trillion views and now averages over 800 million unique visitors a month.

Youtube generic

© Rex Features / Alex Segre

The revenue that Google’s ads bring also offers a slice of the profits for anyone who cares to sign up to the program. Users can make up to 45% of any revenue that Google generates from your videos, and while that’s insignificant for most people, there are some users who are earning serious amounts of money through the site:

1. Gaming vloggers like PewDiePie One area that seems to have generated more wealth than any other on YouTube is gaming videos. PewDiePie, a 25-year-old from Sweden who currently lives in Brighton, is the perfect example. PewDiePie has a staggering 34.5 million subscribers, and his videos each attract millions of views. The Wall Street Journal reported that in 2013, he earned around $4 million (£2.4 million) per year from that alone – a figure later confirmed by PewDiePie in a Reddit AmA.

2. Popstars such as Rihanna Although there are lots of stories like PewDiePie’s where individual vloggers have gone on to earn fame and a handsome living via YouTube, there are also lots of big-name companies and global superstars raking it in from the site. Owned by Google, Universal Media Group, Sony Music and Abu Dhabi Media, Vevo manages YouTube music videos for big-name artists. Rihanna‘s Vevo channel is one of the most popular, and YouTube channel statistics analysts StatSheep believe it could earn her around the same figure as PewDiePie – an estimated $4.15 million (£2.7 million) per year.

3. People who make you laugh, like PrankvsPrank It’s not just obvious categories like music and gaming though, because PrankvsPrank features husband and wife Jeana and Jesse Wellens, who have made their name playing progressively more ludicrous practical jokes on each other. They now have 7 million subscribers. The question about these two though, is how is either of them still falling for any of the pranks they play on each other, and how they keep coming up with new ideas. However they do it, their channel is hilarious. In a very smart move, the pair also have a vlogging channel which documents their lives together, and it has more than 5 million subscribers – giving them even more potential revenue. All in all, they could be earning as much as $4.6 million (£3 million) per year across the site from their videos.

4. The Slow Mo Guys Perhaps the best thing about YouTube though, is that you can make videos that are visually interesting and still make a living out of it. The Slow Mo Guys are a British duo who make videos of really cool stuff happening, and then slow it down (without a doubt, almost everything looks better slowed down). It might not be the most educational of endeavours, but the pair have close to 5 million subscribers, and could make up to $1.23m (£800,000) per year from their shenanigans. Interestingly though, there is potential added value here beyond just advertising revenue. For example, videos are often sponsored, by the likes of Audible. There’s also considerable scope for commercial videos here, which could very well expand the earnings of vloggers like The Slow Mo Guys substantially. Finally, if you want to be YouTube rich, remember this: these people all work enormously hard. Anyone can have a YouTube channel, and anyone can get money for it, but unless you’re prepared to work tirelessly at it, you’ll never make enough to quit your day job. But if you want encouragement, take a look at the people who are doing what they love, making videos and getting paid for it, all thanks to a silly video site that launched just 10 years ago. Happy Birthday YouTube – and thanks for all the wasted time.

How YouTube changed the world

The Telegraph

  • 9th February 2015
  • Editors: Nisha Lilia Diu, Méabh Ritchie

In late 2005, when YouTube was just a few months old, one of its co-founders announced that the site’s users were consuming the equivalent of an entire Blockbuster store each month. Today, 300 hours of video are uploaded to the site every minute. And Blockbuster… Well, kids, Blockbuster was a video rental shop offering films on DVD and VHS. VHS tapes were like giant cassettes. Cassettes were… Oh, never mind.

The online video behemoth has become the world’s third most-visited website, after Google and Facebook. According to Jawed Karim, he and two of his PayPal colleagues, Chad Hurley and Steve Chen, launched the site after becoming frustrated that they couldn’t find footage of the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami and, er, Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” at the Super Bowl the same year.

This high-and-low ethos is baked into YouTube’s culture. It’s been lauded for promoting democracy and reenergising education, while being disparaged for its endless cat videos and nasty user comments.

What is beyond debate is YouTube’s influence (spotted by a far-sighted Google in 2006, when it bought the site for $1.65 billion). Almost anyone can upload almost anything to YouTube, for free, and be in with a chance of reaching its one billion monthly users – whether they’re activists, terrorists, politicians or pop stars (or just the proud owner of a “mutant giant spider dog”). It has changed our world.


Matthew Holehouse

00:00 03:38

The 40-year old MP for Witney scrapes plates into a bin, while his wife helps their children get ready for school in their handsome kitchen.

“Watch out BBC, ITV, Channel 4. We’re the new competition. We’re a bit wobbly, but this is one of the ways we want to communicate with people properly,” says David Cameron. It is October 2006 and WebCameron, a new YouTube channel, is born. (more…)

Net Fix: Title II, the two words that terrify the broadband industry


Title II, a provision in the country’s 81-year-old telecommunications law, could be used to tighten regulations on the telecom and cable industries. Here’s why they’re not happy about it.

by Roger Cheng and Ben Fox Rubin
February 2, 2015

    From left: Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, Chairman Tom Wheeler, Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel and Commissioner Michael O’Rielly watch as protesters are removed from the dais during a hearing at the FCC in December.Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty ImagesThis story is part of a CNET special report looking at the challenges of Net neutrality, and what rules — if any — are needed to fuel innovation and protect US consumers.

    Heavy-handed. Archaic. Disastrous.

    Those are just some of the ways critics describe Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, which lets the Federal Communications Commission set rates and ensure equal access to traditional phone service.

    As the FCC gets ready to propose new rules governing the Internet, the broadband industry — the cable, wireless and telecommunications companies providing Internet service in the United States — is using even more colorful epithets to describe Title II. That’s because the FCC, led by Chairman Tom Wheeler and backed by President Barack Obama, wants the broadband industry to abide by the same rules governing old-style telephone utilities. To do that, broadband will have to be governed by Title II.

    This month, the FCC will try to redefine what broadband is, how it’s delivered and whether all Internet traffic gets equal treatment. That concept of equal treatment — which means preventing broadband providers from favoring certain kinds of content — has been dubbed Net neutrality or the open Internet. (more…)

    Music accounted for 62 of the top 250 YouTube channels in 2014


    February 2nd, 2015 by Stuart Dredge

    katy perry

    Recently, we ran some analysis of the monthly YouTube charts published on industry site Tubefilter, which use data from analytics firm OpenSlate. That gave us an idea of the most popular music channels on YouTube in 2014, but now the site haspublished a top 250 for the year, digging a bit further into the longer tail.

    The headline stat is that music accounted for 62 of the top 250 channels ranked by annual views in 2014, with 43 of those falling under the Vevo banner. As we noted before, Katy Perry was the top music channel in third place overall, while Shakira, Spinnin’ Records and Enrique Iglesias all made it into the top 10 overall.

    Music taking just under a quarter of the top 250 may sound a little low, considering its importance to YouTube as a category. That’s partly a reflection of the cyclical nature of music channel viewing though: channels are quiet when artists are recording, and the big ones have sharp peaks around new video releases – at least until the artist has a sizeable enough back catalogue to keep the views rolling in even when they’re inactive.

    Otherwise, when the figures are totted up annually, many artists slip back compared to the steadyu (and building, if they’re good) viewing for vloggers and gamers on YouTube. Hence Taylor Swift in 21st place overall, although she was comfortably inside the top five towards the end of 2014.

    Also notable: the low ranking for some of the traditional stars of social/digital media: Justin Bieber had the 43rd most popular YouTube channel in 2014 – admittedly a quiet year for him musically – while Lady Gaga was 158th and Britney Spears 203rd.

    Media = content + people


    January 23, 2015 by Jeff Jarvis

    We can’t see the internet for the wires. We talk about the internet as technology — computers and cables — but more and more I see it as people: people connected with each other, people speaking, people shopping, people learning.

    I am finally seeing media the same way: people, unmediated. This is the basis of our new degree in social journalism at CUNY. And this is a worldview and business model confirmed by Samir Arora, CEO of Mode Media (aka Glam) in a session I moderated at this week’s DLD conference in Munich. Samir presented a new taxonomy for media companies and a new view of their profitability based less on the value of their content than on the value and scale of the people they connect. It’s a new, powerful, and unappreciated vision.

    I have been writing about the power of networks for a long time and that is why Samir walked into my office seven years ago saying he had to show me a slide of his, because it confirmed what I’d been saying. This ugly bit of PowerPoint — often compared to some bizarre biological experiment — exhibited the scale Glam had achieved as a web property over rival iVillage. Glam did that by building networks of independent bloggers instead of owning, creating, and syndicating content, the old way. In short order, Glam had beat iVillage.

    Screenshot 2015-01-19 at 6.13.00 PM

    Since then, Glam and its associated brands — collectively Mode Media — have grown from 20 million uniques in the U.S. to more than 400 million worldwide. Mode is now the seventh largest web property. iVillage is gone.

    How did Glam do that? People. (more…)

    Internet to Hit 3 Billion Users in 2015


    Nearly half the world’s population will have regular access to the web by 2018

    Why are Latino viewers the most important for networks?

    The Guardian Winner of the Pulitzer prize

    Thursday 1 January 2015
    As traditional audiences move to on-demand services, networks are attempting to appeal to one of America’s last audience of loyal, committed TV watchers: Latinos.

    Jane The Virgin: part of the lean toward Latino audiences.

    Jane The Virgin: part of the lean toward Latino audiences. Photograph: Tyler Golden/Tyler Golden/The CW

    In an internal memo sent to employees on Monday, MSNBC president Phil Griffin outlined his plans to bolster the channel’s viewership. The reason for the change of plan is simple: its audience has hit its lowest point since 2005 and it finished third in cable news behind Fox News and CNN. The decline in tradition television audiences across the board has been affecting cable and network channels since the turn of the decade with former nailed-on winners such as ABC’s Modern Family losing viewers. But the one advantage MSNBC has over its competitors is its ability to attract a diverse audience, and especially Latino viewers.

    Latino viewers are an increasingly important demographic for all networks. The Nielsen Company found that Hispanics in the US have over $1 trillion in purchasing power and represent more than half of US population growth between 2000-2010. Bi-lingual homes where both Spanish and English are spoken currently watch about 50% Spanish-language television, while English-dominant Hispanic households watch a mere 3% of Spanish-language TV. In other words, television networks need to win over this audience if they want to make up the shortfall left by formally loyal absconders. But at the moment few networks are catering for Latinos specifically. (more…)

    Why Hearst, Disney And Bertelsmann Are Betting Big On YouTube Networks – And What’s Next

    Posted Dec 23, 2014 by  (@peteborum)

    Editor’s note: Pete Borum is the co-founder and CEO of Reelio, where he oversees the business, creative, and engineering teams that power branded content partnerships on YouTube.

    Hearst recently announced the acquisition of 25 percent of DreamWorks Animation’s YouTube network AwesomenessTV for a cool $81.25 million. For those of you who are still under the impression that YouTube is a place for cat videos (and who apparently haven’t seen YouTube celebrities like Bethany Mota on Dancing With the Stars or plastered on billboards inTimes Square and in New York subway trains), you’re probably scratching your head.

    Why would one of the biggest media companies in the world pay so much money for a YouTube network? And, wait, what the heck is a YouTube network? Well, worry not. This article is for you.

    It’s hard to believe that Spanish YouTube sensation elrubiusOMG makes between $150,000 and $1.5 million in ad revenue for screaming like a kid as he plays the horror video game “Five Nights at Freddy’s.” But it’s true — there’s a whole new generation of video content producers making a killing on YouTube, and revenues are only going up each year. (more…)

    The FCC gets to work on letting internet TV compete with cable


    by Richard Lawler@rjcc | December 22nd 2014


    It’s far from a done deal, but the FCC has taken a step towards putting internet TV service on a par with cable and satellite. On Friday it announced the adoption of a proposal(previously floated by chairman Tom Wheeler) that would give TV providers that stream their channels over the internet, the same access to content that satellite and cable TV services have. So far, internet providers aren’t classified as a “multichannel video programminng distributor”, but if they were that could have forced programmers to negotiate with the likes of Aereo, instead of merely suing them. Even as cord-cutters celebrate, there are some restrictions even with the new proposal — this plan wouldn’t affect Netflix, Amazon or Hulu — but it could make things easier for PlayStation Vue orDish Network’s planned internet TV feed.

    Specifically, the NPRM proposes to interpret the term MVPD to encompass distributors of multiple linear video programming streams, including Internet-based services, and asks for comment on:

    • An alternative interpretation that would require an MVPD to have control over a transmission path;
    • How each interpretation would impact MVPDs, consumers, and content owners, and how each would promote competition and broadband adoption;
    • How the Commission should apply its retransmission consent “good faith” negotiation rules with respect to Internet-based MVPDs to protect local broadcasters; and
    • Whether these proposals would affect the regulatory status of IP-delivered video services by cable operators and DBS providers.

    The distinction comes because the FCC is still looking for “distributors of multiple linear video programming streams” — not those that are primarily video on-demand. It might take away the requirement that services be tied to or own their own transmission path, although an alternative interpretation could change that. Now the FCC is accepting comments on the proposal, and we’re sure the incumbents of the cable industry will chime in to protect their advantage. Consumer advocacy group Public Knowledgeapplauded the move, as senior staff attorney John Bergman said that “By clarifying that MVPDs can operate online, it is creating opportunities for new and existing competitors to offer new kinds of video subscription services to viewers. This should both increase the diversity of content available to viewers online while bringing down prices for all cable and satellite providers.”

    Whatever happens, it won’t come soon enough for Aereo, but as commissioner Ajit Paipointed out in his comments, there’s a possibility the Copyright Office will also need to get in line for the rules to have an effect. Whatever happens, the new rules are opening up for a comment period while the FCC is also considering net neutrality, and major mergers for both Comcast / Time Warner Cable and AT&T / DirecTV, which should make for an exciting (really!) 2015 of flipping through PDFs and watching C-SPAN.

    [Image credit: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI via Getty Images]

    50 Top Cable Entertainment Channels of 2014 – From USA to IFC


    TV | By  on December 23, 2014
    Cable channels

    Fifteen ad-supported entertainment cable nets averaged more than one million primetime viewers

    USA is the land of the free, and the home of the top ad-supported cable entertainment network — at least in terms of total viewers in primetime.

    USA Network topped all other ad-supported cable entertainment networks in 2014 — again — averaging 2.138 million primetime total viewers. In doing so, USA was the only cable channel to make the two million mark in 2014. That said, second-place TNT came darn close, pulling in 1.997 million viewers throughout the calendar year.

    This year marked the ninth consecutive one that USA topped this ranking. That said, ranking doesn’t include ESPN, as that is generally considered a sports, not entertainment, network; otherwise, ESPN would have topped the chart. It also doesn’t count news channels, for the same reason. Finally, Disney Channel is excluded, since it’s not considered ad-supported.

    But back to what actually made it: In third place was the History Channel, with 1.834 million, besting TBS’s 1.819 million. After a big drop-off, FX finished fifth with 1.404 million viewers. (more…)