Highest Paid YouTube Channels of 2014


One of the Fastest Ways to Becoming a Self-Made Millionaire

Want to be a millionaire? Forget everything you know about making money. This is the dawning of the age of the YouTube Star. If you have a law/ finance/ medical degree and can’t seem to break that six-figure mark, don’t despair; the sixth highest grossing YouTube star of 2014 has a Masters in Psychology and Counseling. It’s never too late to quit your day job and make some real money (aforementioned #6 made nearly $4.5 million last year).

If you’re absolutely baffled by the previous statement, you’re not alone. The highest paying job of 2014 (surgeon) pays $233,000 annually, which doesn’t even come close to the people on the list we’re going to show you today. As crazy as it may seem, there’s something to learn from this: never underestimate the purchasing power of appealing to the masses. In today’s post, I’ll discuss what I discovered watching YouTube videos from the 10 highest-grossing channels.

How/ Why YouTube?

Since its inception in 2005, YouTube has become a ubiquitous force in the online world. It is currently the third most visited website (after Google and Facebook). As a result of its rise, it has never been easier to access international sports games, or get live feed of political debates. More and more shows are being release for streaming services only. YouTube has changed the way we consume visual media forever. Online streaming services like YouTube and Netflix are touted as the killers of cable television; it was only a matter of time before companies switched their media advertising tactics to the online giant. Once a platform where you could post amateur home videos, YouTube has developed into one of the best ways to reach an international audience.

In 2007, YouTube rolled out its Partner Program for channels with a strong following, which allows creators of viral content to be compensated. Have you ever clicked on a Youtube video, but instead of the video, you get an ad that you have to watch first? That’s called a pre-roll. Youtube gets paid for every pre-roll watched; YouTube Partners get a portion of that. The more popular the channel, the higher the rate for a pre-roll. With enough clicks, you could be making serious money.

Breaking Down the Popularity Code

The top grossing Youtube channels of 2014 are listed below in order.

Top YouTubersAfter watching clips from these top channels, we came to a consensus: a large majority of these videos are dumb. Maybe there’s something to that; maybe making an idiot of yourself in front of the camera makes you appear humanistic and thereby more likeable. Can it be as simple as that? Let’s take a look at the subject matter of these channels.

We noticed that all of the channels fell into one of these three categories: video games, comedy sketches, and toy reviews. The toy channels are fairly serious product reviews geared towards the got-to-have-it mentality of children. To be clear, the toy reviews are the only channels that don’t have a comedic slant. Only one of the video game-themed channels is an actual review channel, most being silly voiceovers while video games are playing on-screen. What we took away from this experience is that the best way into the hearts of YouTube viewers everywhere– whether you’re sarcastically poking at  pop culture, giving a tutorial, or just doing a product review– you need to be… funny. And that word is entirely subjective. You could actually script out a witty scene or wing it and bank on your natural stupidity to carry you. Apparently as far as YouTube goes, any humor is good humor.

So the next time you upload a video for your business, think about making a little funnier; you could be the next YouTube millionaire. If not, at least you’d be reaching a wider audience. Or you could get into collecting dolls…

The revenue numbers listed on the infographic at the top of the page are estimated earnings based on the YouTube Partner Program and do not include merchandising, endorsements or sponsorship.