Forbes has named video blogger PewDiePie, Swedish gamer Felix Kjellberg, as the top-earning YouTube star in the world. Felix, who will be turning 26 next week, earned $12 million in 2014. The key to his success? Just being entertaining and playing videogames.
Usually Forbes publishes ratings of enterpreneurs, executives and, sometimes, movie stars, but the special issue was dedicated to young Internet celebrities. Kjellberg tops the magazine’s rating of 10 highest paid YouTube stars. He is followed by a comedy duo Smosh and the Fine brothers, creators of shows “Kids react”, Teens React, & Elders React. Both duos make $8.5 mln each. Third place is taken by a dancing violinist Lindsay Stirling who earned $6 mln. Other notable people on the list include makeup artist Michelle Phan ($3 million), prankster Roman Atwood and self-trained chef Rosanna Pansino, who both made $2.5 million.
“When YouTube was founded ten years ago, it was with the mission ‘to provide fast and easy video access and the ability to share videos frequently’,” the Forbes article reminds. “Now it can add another: minting young millionaires by the dozen.”
Felix registered the “PewDiePie” channel on 29 April 2010. In the beginning, YouTube was just a hobby for him, as well as most of the other videoblogging stars, and he made a living selling hot dogs. But his vlogging style soon turned this hobby into a job: in 2013 he already had 15 million subscribers and became the most popular YouTube personality. Today his channel has nearly 40 million followers.
Kjellberg was made famous by his Let’s Play gaming commentaries and vlogs. YouTube, as well as other video services, is full of this type of content, but PewDiePie has found his niche, what is making him unique and memorable. He is not afraid to shout and swear, and his sence of humor is childish, but that is exactly why army of followers, mostly consisting of teenagers, loves him.
Money never was a main Kjellberg’s reason to start YouTube. “The fact that I could make videos was so much more important to me than [that] I had to spend a few hours a day doing a job that wasn’t that prestigious,” he explained in a video called “Let’s Talk About Money” posted in July 2015.“I knew people were big at other types of videos, but there was no one big in gaming, and I didn’t know you could make money out of it. It was never like a career that I could just quit college to pursue. it was just something I loved to do. And here we are five years later and it’s exploded.”