YouTube Stars' Huge Earnings Will Make You Question All Your Life Choices

02/05/2015 01:08 pm ET | Updated Feb 05, 2015
Suhaimi Abdullah via Getty Images

Some of the biggest stars on YouTube may be earning big paychecks for playing with toys and video games -- essentially, doing things many kids do on Christmas morning.

A recent look at data compiled by YouTube stat-monitor Social Blade gives a snapshot of some of the most influential YouTubers, what kind of viewership and interactions they receive and how much money they earn. Stats for the top YouTube channels show many of these leading video stars drawing large audiences for narrating gaming sessions or unboxing brand-new toys. Even more jaw-dropping are the dollar amounts these simple, low-budget videos reap annually.

Just how much money are we talking here?

DisneyCollectorBR, which Social Blade rates as the top YouTube channel, is estimated to earn between $1.4 and $21.9 million each year. This YouTuber unwraps Disney toys and talks about them, and in the process has attracted the sixth-most video views on the site. Not even the YouTube stars who recently interviewed President Barack Obama can hold a candle to DisneyCollectorBR's stats.

(Scroll down to see a list of the top 15 YouTube stars and their estimated earnings.)


This toy-unwrapping video by DisneyCollectorBR (aka DC Toys Collector) racked up more than 1 million views in the first week after it was uploaded.

To rank YouTube channels, Social Blade determines which are the most relevant. It looks at how active a channel has been recently, in addition to the number of comments its videos receive and how many people subscribe to it.

There is a separate metric for calculating how lucrative a channel is: Social Blade estimates earnings for each YouTube channel based on the money generated for every thousand ad views. These estimates aren't exact. Instead, they create a minimum and maximum amount that a channel could be earning; in some cases, the range can be huge.

YouTubers The Huffington Post reached out to would not comment on the earnings estimates to avoid violating YouTube's terms and conditions; but Jenna Arnold, support services manager for Social Blade, was able to offer some background.

"The range is huge because the CPMs [cost per thousand views] vary SO much. They can be anywhere from $0.25 to $4.00 on average," Arnold told HuffPost via email. "It’s a huge range because we just don’t know CPM’s for individual channels, or many of the factors that would affect it, like what country their audience is based in, how many views are from mobile, how many of their viewers have Adblock, etc. Stuff like that all affects earnings."

The estimates also don't account for the cut Google takes -- usually about 45 percent of ad revenue. Thus, it's safe to say that these YouTubers might be taking home paychecks significantly smaller than Social Blade's estimates.

With that in mind, here are the top 15 stars crushing it on YouTube:

1. DisneyCollectorBR: Pulls down $1.5 to $23.4 million annually for her videos about playing with children's toys.

2. PewDiePie: Earns between $1.2 and 18.9 million every year for his comedy videos, often about video games.

3. LittleBabyBum: This group, which produces animated nursery rhymes specifically for YouTube, earns $845,500 to $13.5 million annually.

4. Stampylonghead: $698,100 to $11.2 million every year for videos about "Minecraft" and other video games.

5. Popularmmos: $750,900 to $12 million for "Minecraft" gameplay commentary.

6. Blucollection: $720,700 to $11.5 million for videos showing a grown man playing with Play-Doh and other toddler-friendly wares.

7. DisneyCarToys: $642,700 to $10.3 million every year for short films like "FROZEN Elsa Teaches Barbie a Lesson PART 2."

8. MarkiPlierGame: $588,400 to $9.4 million for video game commentary.

9. TheDiamondMinecart: $603,000 to $9.6 million for daily "Minecraft" videos.

10. Jacksepticeye: $568,300 to $9.1 million for the self-professed "most energetic video game commentator on YouTube."

11. MaterCarClub: $527,100 to $8.4 million for more adults playing with children's toys.

12. Vanossgaming: $517,800 to $8.3 million for even more video game comedy videos.

13. TheEducVideos: $565,200 to $9 million for toy videos -- this time starring children.

14. Itsbabybigmouth: $567,200 to $9.1 million for videos that are mostly about opening chocolate eggs for the toys inside.

15. Vegetta777: $505,600 to $8.1 million for manic video game commentary (in Spanish).

Note: Social Blade's rankings are based on factors that are continually in flux, so these values aren't static. We also filtered out major companies like EMI Music, as well as more recognizable stars like Taylor Swift, to focus on YouTube-specific personalities and groups.

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