Here are the highest earning YouTubers of 2016

Bradley Wint
Dec 11, 2016 10:50pm AST
Photo: Lilly Singh - Voices/YouTube

10 years ago, when we spoke about a high paying salary, we would think about something traditional like a doctor or lawyer.

With the explosion of e-commerce, people have found tons of new ways of making money online, including turning a profit on YouTube videos. Thanks to online advertising, anyone can start a YouTube channel and make a decent revenue stream once they put some time and effort behind it.

Since YouTube started offering its partnership program to everyone, many people have gone on become millionaires in the process, buying luxury houses, fast cars, and traveling the world as a result.

Forbes recently came up with its list of top earning YouTube stars by gross earnings (before taxes and other service fees) based on data from Nielsen, IMDB and other sources, along with interviews with agents, managers, industry insiders, and the actual stars themselves. All earnings are in US dollars.

In the past, top earnings lists were generated based on channel views only, but of course we all know not all channels earn the same amount of money, and some stars earn money via other methods such as donations, product placements, and other promotions.

Without further ado:

10) Colleen Ballinger/Miranda Sings – $5 million

Coming in for a tie at $5 million, Colleen Ballinger, better known by her alter-ego name “Miranda Sings”, is now on stand-up tour and has even gone on to land her own Netflix series called “Haters Back Off”.

9) Rhett & Link – $5 million

Rhett McLaughlin and Charles Lincoln Neal III are an entertainment duo, best known for their comedy songs, viral sketches, and more importantly, their series of “commercials”. They also earned roughly $5 million this year.

8) HolaSoyGerman. – $5.5 million

Coming in with yet another tie is Germán Garmendia, better known by his channel name as HolaSoyGerman..

He is a Chilean online comedian, best known for his combination of comedy sketches, songs, video games, and other random vids. I can’t speak Spanish, but with 30 million subscribers, he must be funny, right?

7) Markiplier – $5.5 million

Mark Fischbach a.k.a. Markiplier is a video game YouTuber famous for his “Let’s Play” style videos, tackling mainly indie titles in the survival and action genres.

6) Rosanna Pansino – $6 million

If you’re a fan of cooking, most likely you may be one of Rosanna Pansino’s 7 million subscribers. She is best known for her geeky cooking show, “Nerdy Mommies” where she cooks or bakes different dishes based on various movie, video game and other fan fiction themes.

5) Tyler Oakley – $6 million

With just over 8 million subscribers, Tyler Oakley is best known as a LGBT activist, podcaster, and YouTuber. His videos focus around sensitive and social issues like suicide prevention, healthcare, and education.

4) Smosh – $7 million

With 22 million subscribers, the Smosh duo comprising of Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla, is best known for their comedy sketches parodying popular video games, movies, TV shows and other popular pop culture references.

3) IISuperwomanII – $7.5 million

Lilly Singh has amassed 10 million subscribers under the IISuperwomanII YouTube brand. Beyond that, she is known for her skills as a comedian, rapper, and actress. She has also done quite a bit of globetrotting, visiting locations like India, Australia, Trinidad, Hong Kong, UK, US, Dubai, among many other destinations, while on tour.

2) RomanAtwood – $8 million

Best known for his pranks, Roman Atwood is both a prankster and vlogger. Between his prank and daily vlog channel, he has over 20 million subscribers, allowing him to build quite a reputation, allowing him to bring in just about $8 million this year.

1) PewDiePie – $15 million

Do we really need a commentary here? But then again, what does PewDiePie really do now? Starting off as a video game channel, Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, quickly climbed his way to becoming to most subscribed YouTuber in the space of just three years. Over time, his channel evolved from “Let’s Play” styled videos to just video game (and generic) comedy.

He has also been very vocal about some of the recent changes that YouTube has made, which negatively affected its partners in the last few months.

Love him or hate him, he just hit the 50 million subscriber count a few days ago, after trolling the world into thinking he would delete his main channel.

This year, he raked in a cool $15 million.

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