These days, you can’t shake a stick without hitting an online trend or viral celebrity. The internet has become such a central part of our lives that it’s almost unbelievable that not too long ago, this form of communication and entertainment didn’t even exist! And while many of us use it to stay up to date about the world, the news and what our friends and family are doing, a growing number of clever entrepreneurs are managing to ride online the wave to become incredibly bankable media stars, using one of the internet’s most popular platforms – the video sharing website YouTube.
YouTube opened its doors in 2005, and very soon after the public got a chance to produce and distribute their own original material. Anyone with a camera and a microphone could do it. Gone were the days where millions of dollars and a crew of 100 people were needed to produce quality entertainment. YouTube paved the way for anyone with an idea and a voice to get it out there and share it with the public. Striving actors, writers, and directors took advantage of the platform by writing and performing their own original material. Aspiring bakers were able to log on and check out the newest recipes and how to make them. Content became endlessly available and instantly accessible to anyone that wanted to check it out.
And as the content itself became popular, the YouTube stars producing the most sought-after content were born. Most of the highest-earning stars today were original pioneers of the service, though not all of them began in the mid-2000s. Back then, these innovators recognized the changing trends to online content and streaming early on and shared their talents and passions with the world from the comfort of their own homes. Stars such as DanTDM and Evan Fong, for example, recognized an absence of content for video gamers and decided to create their own hub for commentary. Makeup artist Michelle Phan was regarded highly among her group of friends for her impeccable style and decided to head her own channel to share her beauty secrets. These were everyday people with no ties to celebrity who tapped into uncharted territory and became superstars in their own rights.
Each year advertisers pay YouTube content creators nearly $5 billion for features and placements. These massive corporations recognize YouTube talent as the future of branding and shell out an impressive amount of cash to appeal to the younger generation who look up to these new stars. It’s the classic rags-to-riches tale, really: these stars begin as DIY (do it yourself, as the kids say) content creators, and if they find their audience, they can blossom into multi-million dollar business moguls.
More often than not, these YouTube celebrities don’t stay within the medium that launched their careers, and venture out to different avenues. Many of the top earners have published books that have reached the top spot on the New York Times Bestsellers list. Some have starred in movies and TV series and many of them have received lucrative endorsement deals. Fans come far and wide to see their favorite YouTuber at a local event or convention.
This list of YouTube’s top earners feature video gamers, sketch comedians, and musicians. They are trailblazers in their own right and show no sign of slowing down. Check out which of these stars have earned their place as the top grossing YouTubers to date, and in what directions they’re currently taking their careers.
[post_page_title]RomanAtwoodVlogs ($2.5 million)[/post_page_title]
With 3.6 billion views and 13 million subscribers, Roman Atwood’s “RomanAtwoodVlogs” YouTube channel is one of the most popular channels online. He produces daily videos featuring a number of different pranks amongst his friends. He shares videos of himself dunking in freezing water and staging arrests with the police. In 2016 he produced his first full-length film about his crazy antics, Natural Born Pranksters. The Lionsgate release depicted the star putting on longer pranks with his friends.