While normal people like you and me aren’t becoming overnight celebrities on the internet, YouTube’s top-earning personality is a 25-year-old video-game-playing jokester from Sweden who took in $12 million (Rs. 77.64 crores) over the past year.
According to Forbes magazine, Felix Kjellberg, better known by his handle PewDiePie, tops its first list of people who have spun short online videos into huge piles of cash.
Popular YouTube celebrities make money mainly by getting paid to interact with products on their channels and sharing ad revenue with YouTube. Some have starred in movies, written books, gone on tour, sold music or have cut endorsement deals. They’re a hit with younger audiences and brands are tapping into this market to reach the next generation of consumers.
Two acts tied for second on the Forbes’ list, both earning $8.5 million (Rs. 55 crore): comedy prankster duo Smosh — Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla (pictured below) — and the Fine Brothers, Benny and Rafi Fine.
Dancing violinist Lindsey Stirling (pictured below) ranked fourth with $6 million (Rs. 38.82 crore). Tied for fifth were comedians Rhett and Link — made of Rhett McLaughlin and Charles Lincoln Neal III — and video game commentator Olajide Olatunji, known as KSI, with $4.5 million (Rs. 29.11 crore)
Make-up artist Michelle Phan came in seventh place at $3 million (Rs. 19.41 crore)
The 8th rank was a three-way tie at $2.5 million (Rs. 16.17 crore) shared by comedian Lilly Singh a.k.a Superwoman (pictured below); prankster Roman Atwood; and chef Rosanna Pansino.
Forbes is best known for its list of billionaires and the list appearing in its November 2 issue marks its first stab at ranking YouTube stars. It says it measured earnings before management fees and taxes and came up with the figures based on data from online sources such as Nielsen, IMDb and interviews with managers, lawyers, industry insiders and the stars themselves.