As the second most popular site on the web after Google, YouTube is the millennial media frontier. Watching, sharing, uploading YouTube videos is the cultural currency of today. And for the early adopters that got the YouTube memo they're making an astonishing amount of bank, basically from home made movies. So what does it take to make it in the online streaming world? Well... there's no exact science. According to the 2016 Forbes list, the highest-earning YouTubers banked a combined $70.5 million in the 12 months ending June 2016 and the list is extremely diverse, offering insight into the weird and wonderful content viewers are plugging into.
The top earner is a Swedish gent who, unless you're into gaming, is the multi-millionaire YouTuber you may well have never heard of (although his 49 million subscribers certainly have and they like what he has to say). Known by the moniker PewDiePie, real name Felix Kjellberg, his videos document him playing video games while providing colourful (read: coarse) commentary. With over 13 billion views of his channel and a best-selling book under his belt, his take home for the last 12 months was $15 million USD. But, if you want to see what a $15 million dollar man looks like, you better get in quick, he recently posted that once he hits 50 million subscribers he's shutting down his channel. Watch one of his videos here:
Second place getter, Roman Atwood, makes comedic street-style stunts and took home a cool $8 mil. And then there's Lilly Singh - the ultimate slashie rapper/comedienne/dancer banked $7.5 million for her vids. Closely followed by YouTube comedy kings, Anthony Padilla and Ian Hecox from Smoosh. They were early YouTube adopters starting out in 2005 with their Smoosh comedy channel, they now run an empire of seven channels and are in the $7 million pay packet bracket. The rest of the top ten are a mixed crew including geek baking pin-up, Rosanna Pansino from Nerdy Nummies ($6mil), LGBT activist Tyler Oakley ($6mil) who posts diary-like videos is a best-selling author and has just signed with Ellen Degeneres' production company, Markiplier another gamer making $5.5mil, Chilean comedian/musician German Garmendia (HolaSoyGerman) who's making in the region of $5.5 mil and boasts 48 million subscribers across three channels, comedienne Colleen Ballinger (alter ego Miranda Sings) $5mil, nerdy talk show hosts Rhett and Link ($5 mil) from Good Mythical Morning, who pull A-list guests like Amy Schumer.
It all adds up to a very compelling case for DIY at-home movie making.