YouTube has changed the fundamental nature of entertainment. Since it was started in 2005, by three former PayPal employees, online video streaming has become the dominant entertainment media across mobile devices. The website did so well in its early years that it was bought out by Google in 2006 for $1.65 billion.
YouTube offered a platform for existing celebrities to stream their vlogs, movies, and music videos. But has also offered a platform for regular folks to become stars in their own right. In this day and age, YouTube celebrities are sprouting up every hour, and thanks to the site's revenue-sharing program, these users can now make a nice income - if they have the fan base to support it.
Many YouTube users have been on the site for well over a decade, coming to international attention with their viewership and subscriber base. Major companies have taken advantage of these unique audiences and have started offering a sponsorship to these YouTube stars, who can earn tens of thousands of dollars with each endorsement. Between earning revenue on views and sponsors, vloggers can make a pretty great career over YouTube these days.
Many of these users stay pretty quiet about their income, and for good reason. It seems like more and more fans are attempting to predict the net worth of these YouTube stars - many of whom have no other dayjob - based on viewership, subscriber base, and endorsements. But no one can really know for sure.
There are some users who are clearly laughing all the way to the bank: Take the wildly popular CinemaSins channel, for example, or the Irish vlogging family the SacconyJoly. Both channels make well over $100,o0o per year on their videos. Some superstar users have augmented their net worth to the point of becoming millionaires, thanks to their YouTube popularity. These are fifteen of the richest millionaire YouTubers as of 2015.
15 Ryan Higa - $2 million
You might know Ryan Higa by his YouTube username, nigahiga. Ryan is a well know YouTube personality and actor of Japanese descent. His comedy videos have been viewed over 2 billion times and he has over 14 million subscribers.
Ryan was born in Hawaii and currently resides in Las Vegas, Nevada after he moved there to study film at UNLV. He originally started out on YouTube posting lip syncing videos of popular songs. Eventually, his YouTube account was suspended for copyright infringement, and he had to start exploring other options.
Today, Ryan is a working actor, and posts content regularly. From skits to hijinks, Ryan maintains a consistent fan base who greatly enjoy his work, and he's benefitting from his YouTube popularity to the tune of an estimated $2 million.
14 TheBajanCanadian - $2 million
TheBajanCanadian, also known as Mitch Hughes, has quite an interesting origin story. He was born in Canada, raised in Barbados, and then moved back to Canada. Mitch rose to fame with his video game commentary on the "Call of Duty" series, but then became bored of the same and put his channel on hiatus in 2012. But then, he discovered Minecraft, and started posting videos again.
Much to his astonishment, Mitch saw his online presence and fame increase. He currently has over 2,500 videos, 3.6 million subscribers, and 680 million views on his videos. He continues to post videos of his online playing, with videos lasting as long as 5 hours. Though he usually hides behind an avatar, fans sometimes get a chance to put a face to this entrepreneurial gamer's screen name.
13 The Fine Brothers - $2.4 million
You probably wouldn't recognize Benny and Rafi Fine right away, but it's almost certain that you've seen at least one of their videos on YouTube. The Fine Brothers started the "REACT" series in October of 2010, and consist of sub-series such as "Kids React", "Teenagers React", and "Elders React". Typically behind the camera, the Fine Brothers have given exposure to numerous screen-friendly kids.
The brothers' YouTube channel currently has over 3 million subscribers and 283 million views. They announced in the summer of 2014 that two new spin off series would be released, including a "React: Advice" and "React: Lyric Breakdown."
12 Epic Rap Battles - $2.4 million
One of the unlikeliest successes on the internet, and so quintessentially 'YouTube', this video series is based around historical figures getting into rap battles. In September of 2010, Lloyd Ahlquist and Peter Shukoff published a video with the pair playing John Lennon and Bill O'Reilly rapping against each other.
A seemingly brilliant idea with endless variations, Lloyd and Peter were the only faces in the videos for quite some time, until they opened up opportunities for collaboration with other YouTube stars and celebrities.
Today, the Epic Rap Battles YouTube channel has over 11 million subscribers and 1.4 billion views. With over 50 episodes and four seasons under their belts, Lloyd and Peter show no signs of slowing down any time soon.
11 CaptainSparklez - $2.8 million
Jordan Maron, better known as CaptainSparklez, holds one of the most popular solo gaming channels on YouTube and was fifth on the list to reach 1 billion views.
He currently has over 8.1 million subscribers on his "CaptainSparklez" channel, with videos which typically consist of him playing Minecraft. He attained worldwide fame when he created a parody video of the song, "Gangnam Style", which he appropriately renamed, "Minecraft Style". Within days, the video was viewed over a million times.
Jordan frequently collaborates with other YouTube stars. He also releases Minecraft-like animation videos, on which he performs voiceovers. His videos continue to gather hundreds of thousands of views with each new upload.
10 HolaSoyGerman - $3 million
HolaSoyGerman, better known as German Aranis, has over 20 million subscribers on YouTube, making him the third most subscribed channel on the website. Maybe it's his endearing Chilean accent, his comedic timing, or his good looks, but German has certainly become a sensation on the video streaming site. At the beckoning of a friend, he uploaded his first video in 2011, and it's been nothing but uphill ever since.
His videos range from skits, to rants, to video diary-like posts. The content of his videos are primarily posted in another language, but viewers still love and enjoy his stuff. The rest of the world continues to watch his stuff, despite the language barrier, which might even be an asset as he can reach out to a different audience.
9 Jenna Marbles - $3 million
Jenna Mourey, aka Jenna Marbles is one of the most well known YouTube personalities. She reached internet fame in 2010 with her video, "How To Trick People Into Thinking You're Good Looking", which got over 5.3 million views in its first week. This catapulted Jenna into instant fame, leaving fans of her last video waiting with bated breath for the next one. Today, Jenna has 14 million subscribers and 1.7 billion views on her videos in total.
Jenna typically posts videos about hot topics as well as situations that many people, especially women, can relate to. In her second popular video, "How To Avoid Talking To People You Don't Want To Talk To" was featured on ABC News and the New York Times. Today, Jenna is venturing into making dog toys and collaborates with other YouTube stars.
8 RayWilliamJohnson - $4 million
Ray William Johnson is best known for his YouTube series, "Equals Three", where he provides commentary on viral videos. In 2011, it was declared that Ray had 6 of the 20 most watched videos on YouTube. By September 2012, he had accumulated about 2 billion video views. Currently, he has 12 million subscribers. In March 2014, Ray hosted his last "Equals Three" video, and it is now currently hosted by Robby Motz.
But that doesn't mean that Ray is out of commission. He now posts videos of different skits and has created a few series on his channel, including some of his acting work and music that he has written himself. Ray has certainly created his own empire on YouTube, and maintains his viewership to this day.
7 Smosh - $6 million
Smosh consists of the duo, Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla, who met in their 6th grade science class. They are known as two of YouTube's first original breakout stars, gaining notable audiences in 2005 with a video of the two lip-synching the theme song to Pokemon. That video ended up becoming YouTube's most watched video in 2006 until it was removed for copyright infringement. But that didn't stop the guys from making lots more videos.
Since then, Smosh has released four albums, a video game based on Food Battle videos, as well as an app game. Smosh remains as one of the most popular channels on YouTube today, with the guys making quite a decent living from the revenue sharing program along with endorsements.
6 Toby Turner - $6.2 million
Toby Turner is better known as his YouTube names, "Tobuscus" and "TobyGames". Toby got his start when he joined YouTube in May of 2006. One of his early videos, "Don't Tase Me, Bro!" was one of the most popular videos of the year, and skyrocketed Toby to fame.
Eventually, he branched off into a separate YouTube channel for his gaming endeavors. In 2009, he started the channel "TobyTurner" for his unedited work, or "lazy vlogs." His channels have millions of subscribers, many of whom are loyal subscribers to all of his videos across the board.
In addition to his own channels, Toby often collaborates with other popular YouTubers, playing against them in video games and posting the video afterwards for fans of both gamers to witness.
5 The Yogscast - $6 million
The Yogscast was founded in 2008 by Lewis Brindley and consists of a network of YouTubers. Named after a former World of Warcraft guild, The Yogscast gained notable popularity through their videos about the MMO World of Warcraft and Minecraft games. The group has gone through its share of controversy, from a successful Kickstarter project for a game that didn't get fulfilled, to temporarily turning comments off on their videos. But despite all this, since its inception in 2008, the Yogscast has grown tremendously.
The Yogscast maintains a consist viewership, with new subscribers signing on each day and views in the multi-millions. The channel has created sub-channels and podcasts, and has created their own self-sustaining company with several people on staff to help keep the ship afloat.
4 BluCollection - $6.5 million
BluCollection is a mystery, as he doesn't show his face at all in his videos and offers minimal commentary. He normally produces videos about different kinds of toys, mainly of the Disney area. His Twitter feed puts him in New York City, but users have noted similarities between him and other YouTube users, making followers obsess with solving the mystery as to who BluCollection is.
His channel has become widely popular with kids and parents, as his channel is family friendly. Children get a chance to see their favorite toys in action, and parents don't need to worry about their young ones being exposed to mature content. Even though BluCollection's subscriber base is relatively low, his viewership is in the billions.
3 Zoella - $7.2 million
Zoe Sugg, or better known as Zoella, is a true Cinderella story of YouTube. She has been on YouTube for several years, starting out as an 18-year old girl posting blogs from her room with 'haul' videos, beauty tips, decor ideas, and more. At the time she started, Zoe was working at an interior design firm. She has grown to be one of YouTube's biggest break out stars, and is a media darling in her native England.
For those who doubt her success and monetary value, Zoe recently purchased a million pound (GDP) penthouse, which she shares with her boyfriend Alfie of the YouTube channel PointlessBlog. Zoe also does (paid) endorsements, which helps her income quite a bit.
Her star power was never more evident than when she became a record-breaking author with her debut book, 'Girl Online'. In December 2014, Zoe became the fastest-selling debut novelist ever in the United Kingdom.
2 PewDiePie - $9 million
PewDiePie is probably one of the most iconic YouTube personalities in existence today. Hailing from Sweden, 25-year old Felix Arvid Ulf Kjelberg has been parodied on shows like "South Park" and he is a YouTube personality that people love to hate. He has over 35-million subscribers and each new video of his hits well over 4 million views by the end of the day. His videos range from completely ridiculous to what looks like a budding acting career on some of his works that emulate SNL skits.
It is speculated that he has made anywhere between $7 million and $18 million, but numerous websites seem to all agree on $9 million. Regardless of where he is on the money making pyramid, he's doing pretty well for a 25 year old guy.
1 DisneyCollectorBR - $13 million
DisneyCollectorBR makes anywhere from $4.9 million to $13 million, making her quite possibly the richest YouTube millionaire. What adds to the success of DisneyCollectorBR is the fact that no one knows who she is, as she has yet to come forward and identify herself. The only thing that she has revealed is that she is from Brazil.
Also, her channel appeals to viewers of all ages, as most people love toys (especially Disney) regardless of their age. Her videos include opening the box, putting the toys together, and then playing with the toys. Her voice has become iconic, especially haunting parents as their little ones watch her videos constantly. Whatever this mystery woman is doing, it is certainly all working out in her favor.