​PewDiePie 12 Million: Forbes Magazine Releases Highest Paid YouTube Stars In The World

PewDiePie 12 Million
Author: Michael StevensBy:
Staff Reporter
Oct, 19, 2015 | 1:17 PM

Gamer PewDiePie earned $12 million last year and thereby topping Forbes magazine’s first-ever ranking of the top-paid stars on the Google video platform. The video-game-playing bro, who’s birth name is Felix Kjellberg, is the world’s highest-paid YouTube star, according to Forbes.

PewDiePie, 25, is a Swedish gamer with nearly 40 million YouTube subscribers. He earned the $12 million from advertisements on his channel.

He also topped Variety’s list of Famechangers, the digital world’s 12 most influential stars. The duos of Smosh - Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla - and the Fine Brothers - Benny and Rafi Fine - were runner-ups with $8.5 million. “Smosh” recently starred in the aptly titled film “Smosh: The Movie.”

PewDiePie $12 million earns him the highest paid spot on YouTube.

PewDiePie $12 million earns him the highest paid spot on YouTube.

PewDiePie’s $12 million makes him the biggest YouTube star when you consider Chanteuse Lindsey Stirling, who came in fourth with $6 million. The violinist also made our Famechangers list.

Comedians Rhett and Link - aka Rhett McLaughlin and Charles Lincoln Neal III - and video game commentator Olajide Olatunji - known as “KSI” - tied for fifth with $4.5 million.

Self-taught make-up artist Michelle Phan was seventh at $3 million.

Comedian Lilly Singh - called “Superwoman” - prankster Roman Atwood and chef Rosanna Pansino came in eighth with $2.5 million each.

Here’s the list:

1. PewDiePie: $12 million
2. (Tie) Smosh and Fine Brothers: $8.5 million
4. Lindsey Stirling: $6 million
5. (Tie) Rhett & Link and KSI: $4.5 million
7. Michelle Phan: $3 million
8. (Tie) Lilly Singh, Roman Atwood and Rosanna Pansino: $2.5 million

The full list actually includes 13 people in all, combined for an astounding $54 million dollars last year. The list includes earnings before management fees and taxes.

The biggest thing that sets these stars apart from other members of the YouTube community is total viewership and repeat audiences. YouTube Channel subscriber counts — for members of the list, often in the millions — played a huge role in overall earnings.

That’s because the vast majority of the money flowing into the pockets of YouTube celebrities comes from ads, with top earners charging premium dollars for ad placement during their multi-million view videos, as well as other on-air sponsorships.


Doing extremely well in the YouTube world can lead to successes beyond the Internet, as well. Four members of the list have book deals, and others have retail income coming in via everything from makeup lines to personalized beanies.

Forbes is best known for its list of billionaires and the list appearing in its Nov. 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.

Brit KSI has also used his platform to successfully launch a rap career, having reached number 30 in the charts in April this year.

So if you want to be like PewDiePie and make $12 million, you have to start with your own YouTube channel. Now’s the time folks, to become a video gamer.

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