YouTube is big business in today’s world. Vlogging - or video blogging - is exactly what it sounds like: people talking into a camera about a topic such as video games, fashion, toys, etc., rather than writing about it. If you’re funny, cute, quirky, informative, good-looking, or any combination of those traits, there might be a place for you in the ever-expanding vlogging sphere. That being said, there are thousands of vloggers out there, just like bloggers, and each person is trying to get a slice of the pie, but very few succeed. So don’t quit your day-job quite yet, although you might be tempted to after seeing what kind of money some of these lucky few are making.
Top independent content creators can generate huge sums of money from their videos, mainly through advertising revenue on YouTube. There are different levels of partnership that a vlogger can go through, such as pre-roll ads (the 15 second ads you sometimes see at the beginning of videos), and banner ads.
Social Blade is the leader in YouTube analytics, and they estimate the range of earnings for YouTube channels. The estimates are placed within the upper and lower limits, based on daily views on low cost-per-thousand impression (CPM) rates of $0.60, and a high rate of $5. Therefore the estimated range on these lists are very wide, to take into account the different types of ads that each of these 20 successful YouTube vloggers might be using. Keep in mind that the rankings and estimated earnings are constantly fluctuating based on subscriber growth and video views.
11 EvanTubeHD - $376,300 - $3,000,000 yearly income
EvanTubeHD is the handle for 8-year-old Evan, an impressive, cute kid whose family-friendly YouTube channel has him (and occasionally his mom, dad, or sister) reviewing toys and video games associated with LEGO’s, Angry Birds, Minecraft, and more. The channel currently has almost a million subscribers and about 900 million video views. His dad, Jared, controls all of the advertising and negotiations through sales teams. According to Business Insider, Evan and his family are set to rake in $1.3 million from his videos this year.
10 Ksiolajidebt - $385,700 - $3,100,000
Ksiolajidebit, or KSI, is a UK-based vlogger who posts videos about sports, sports games, reviews, and other funny commentaries. He's garnered 7.6 million subscribers on YouTube since arriving in 2009, and his 750+ videos have over 1.2 billion views. His most popular series of videos is his "Top 5 Goals of the Week" series, where he shows the top 5 goals from different gamers playing FIFA that week, as judged by him. He's very energetic and enthusiastic, and he also has free-giveaways and other contests on nearly all of his videos.
9 Potemi926 - $397,100 - $3,200,000
Potemi926 is the name of Japanese YouTubers Kanna, Akira, Asahi, and their mom. The three girls are “tomboy sisters,” very young and cute, and they vlog about toys, educational material, and have a total of 1,118 videos across two channels (the other being Kan and Aki’s CHANNEL). Each of their videos gets over a million views regularly, and to date they have over 500,000 subscribers and almost a billion page views!
8 ERB - $474,500 - $3,800,000 yearly income
ERB is the channel name for the hugely popular Epic Rap Battles of History video series, which was created in 2006 by Nice Peter, epicLLOYD, Dave McCary, and Maker Studios (according to their YouTube About page). Such videos that have been published are Zeus vs Thor Epic Rap Battle, Sir Isaac Newton vs Bill Nye, Donald Trump vs Ebenezer Scrooge, and many more.
Although ERB has only uploaded 45 videos, each one is hilarious and hugely successful, many reaching the tens of millions of views. Overall the channel has the 24th highest Social Blade Rank, with over 11 million subscribers and a combined 1.39 billion video views.
7 TheWillyRex - $476,000 - $3,800,000 yearly income
TheWillyRex is the handle for Guillermo Diaz, a Spanish video-game commentator who hails from Madrid. He rose to fame as one of the best Call of Duty players in Spain, and has since quit school to become a full-time Internet personality, commenting on games such as Grand Theft Auto V, Minecraft, and Call of Duty.
He has the 22nd highest Social Blade Rank, and earns a huge annual income from his ad revenue that stems from his 5.7 million subscribers and 1.19 billion video views. He is also very prolific, having uploaded 2,289 videos as of the time of this writing.
6 TheFineBros - $493,400 - $3,900,000 yearly income
TheFineBros consists of comedy duo and brothers Benny and Rafi, who started by making films in high school that were played in film festivals. They’ve since created shows for networks and companies, have been featured in most major publications, and have helped build digital media startups as Creative Executives and Heads of Production. The brothers have almost 11 million subscribers, and 2.4 billion views over 714 videos. They are currently ranked #21 on Social Blade.
5 ElrubiusOMG - $500,500 - $4,000,000 yearly income
ElrubiusOMG is the handle for Ruben, a Spanish YouTuber who is hugely popular, with over 9 million subscribers and 1.27 overall video views. Ruben typically gives commentary on video games in Spanish, and has a knack for energetic mannerisms and antics, making him funny and addictive amongst his watchers. He is also well-known for interacting with his audience and providing Q&As in his “Get to know Ruben” series.
4 ToyTrains4U - $537,000 - $4,300,000 yearly income
ToyTrains4U is the channel of the Phillips family from the UK. The family consists of Ian (dad), Ali (mum), and their three sons Chris, Dave, and Mike. The family lives outside of London and they make educational videos about toys, and - you guessed it - toy trains, to help achieve “maximum play value”. They claim to try and put out a video everyday, and IanRPhillips, the dad of the family, has the 17th highest rank on Social Blade. Their 863 videos have helped garner an audience of 468,000 subscribers and over 680 million video views, as well as a hefty yearly profit.
3 CollegeHumor - $552,700 - $4,400,000 yearly income
CollegeHumor is one of the most popular comedy troupes and sites on the Internet. The company was founded in 1999 by two high school friends, and they are headquartered in New York City. Their original content consists of the day’s funniest and most offbeat content on the web, and their website CollegeHumor.com receives over 100 million monthly page views. They are ranked #15 on Social Blade, have uploaded 2,460 videos as of the time of this writing, and have a whopping 8.5 million YouTube subscribers with over 3 billion video views.
2 ToysAndFunnyKids - $638,200 - $5,100,000 yearly income
We’re not sure what it is about toy review vlogs that get so much attention, but there’s no denying their popularity. ToysAndFunnyKids joined YouTube in 2013, and since then they’ve amassed 865,000 subscribers and 735 million video views. The channel is based out of Spain, and usually posts videos about the newest ‘surprise eggs’, which are usually chocolate eggs that contain a small toy that often requires assembly. Apparently the newest surprise eggs are a huge thing for young children and their parents.
1 UnboxingSurpriseEgg - $680,600 - $5,400,000 yearly income
As evidenced by the last two entries - ‘surprise eggs’ are a big thing. This particular vlog takes a look at Play-Doh games and playsets, as well as other cartoon-themed toys. They are ranked 12th on Social Blade as of December 6, 2014, and have almost a million subscribers and over 700 million video views. The channel joined YouTube on January 27, 2013.
9. TheEducVideos - $696,700 - $5,600,000 yearly income
TheEducVideos is the network that owns the Kids’ Toys Channel, a toy channel created by two adorable young sisters (and presumably their parents) from the Philippines. The channel was created in 2012, and has since amassed over 400,000 subscribers and 414 million video views. They toy reviews and videos are all narrated by one of the sisters. TheEducVideos proves that the wave of future entrepreneurs is nigh upon us, and YouTube is the platform that they’re all flocking to.
8. SurpriseToys - $729,500 - $5,800,000 yearly income
SurpriseToys is a US-based channel that focuses (as many of these successful channels do) on unwrapping surprise eggs and helping kids assemble them through their videos. It’s amazing that SurpriseToys has only uploaded 62 videos, and yet they have 740 million total video views and 950,000 subscribers. Most of the videos on the channel creates lists of surprise egg boxes, and then spends about 30 minutes to an hour unwrapping them all. The videos are un-narrated and are played with soft music in the background.
7. BuzzFeedYellow - $844,300 - $6,800,000
BuzzFeedYellow is one of the channels for the highly popular, viral-video company BuzzFeed, which was founded in 2006 in New York City by Jonah Peretti. The company was originally founded as a “viral lab,” and have since grown into a global media and technology company that covers an array of funny, inspiring, and interesting topics in their videos. In August, 2014, the company announced that they had received $50 million in funding from venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. BuzzFeedYellow states on the About: “Just like Buzzfeedvideo but more yellow...”, and the channel is 8th on Social Blade, with almost 2.5 million subscribers and about a billion video views.
6. Vegetta777 - $863,100 - $6,900,000 yearly income
Vegetta777 is the handle of the extremely popular Spanish YouTuber Samuel de Luque. He is best known for his voice-overs on gameplay videos for Minecraft, Battlefield, Saint’s Row, and more. He likes to create elaborate histories, narratives, and storylines in his video-game videos, creating a unique movie-like experience for his huge audience of 7.74 million subscribers. He is networked with Polaris, alongside other popular Spanish-language YouTubers such as TheWillyRex, who he often collaborates with.
5. DisneyCarToys - $938,500 - $7,500,000
DisneyCarToys is a channel run by Sandra, a woman who puts together funny dollhouse and tea-party video series and parodies, creating family-friendly soap-operas out of them. She creates storylines for her episodes, and she also does reviews of toys and surprise eggs. She calls her channel DisneyCarToys because her son loves Cars 2 and collects Cars toys. Her husband also runs a channel called ToysReviewToys, though it’s only about a 5th as successful as Sandra’s, which currently has 1.2 million subscribers and over 1.3 billion video views.
4. BluCollection - $1,000,000 - $8,100,000
Like many other successful vlogs, the BluCollection channel is dedicated to unboxing, assembling, and playing with a variety of toys, and then giving reviews. These include Disney toys, Sesame Street toys, Play-Doh, and more. The channel is narrated by an unnamed man, and the videos are in Portuguese and Spanish. BluCollection has almost 1.4 million subscribers and just about 2.5 billion views overall, making this one of the most successful toy review vlogs on YouTube.
3. DisneyCollectorBR - $2,300,000 - $18,700,000
DisneyCollectorBR is the most successful toy review vlog on the Internet. The channel has over 3 million subscribers and over 4 billion views. It is run and narrated by an unnamed Brazilian woman who posts videos in Portuguese, Spanish, and English. She opens, assembles, and plays with Disney toys, while providing a soothing commentary that many parents find they can show to their children to calm and entertain them. Many people believe the woman on DisneyCollectorBR is the wife of the man from BluCollection because their channels are linked throughout their networks, and their About page is practically the same on YouTube.
2. Smosh - $522,000 - $4,200,000
Smosh is a channel created by the YouTube comedy duo Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla. Joining in 2005, they were one of the first YouTube sensations, and people love their comedy videos that parody pop culture and video games. They’ve even opened an app for their content and are in talks with televising their comedy.
You might be saying to yourself: “$4 million is less than the $18 million in the third spot, so why are these guys #2?” And the reason for that is that Smosh has eight YouTube channels, each with their own huge overlapping fan-base! Some of these channels are IanH, WatchUsLiveAndStuff, ELSmosh, SmoshGames, and Anthony Padilla. The Smosh channel itself has almost 4 billion video views, 19 million subscribers (one of the highest on YouTube), and is #18 on Social Blade, while SmoshGames has 1.1 billion views, 5.3 million subscribers, and is #36 on Social Blade. So put all of their channels together, and Smosh might be the most successful vloggers on the Internet.
1. Pewdiepie - $1,900,000 - $15,000,000
Pewdiepie is the channel name of Swedish video-game commentator Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg. His videos feature him playing video games, showing his reactions, and giving commentary. He has broken numerous YouTube growth records, such as jumping from 12 million subscribers in August 2013, to over 20 million by January 2014.
Currently he has the 2nd most video views behind EMIMusic - 6.97 billion - which is higher than Rihanna and Justin Bieber, and the most subscribers - 32.6 million - which is 10 million more subscribers than the 2nd placed channel. The 2nd placed channel, by the way, happens to be YouTube’s own official channel! He has more people subscribed to him on YouTube than YouTube does! His success is attributed to his interaction with his fans, answering questions, talking with them, and creating a community he calls the “bro army.” His net worth is approximately $12 million. Oh, and he’s 25 years old.