Becoming a celebrity on YouTube can make you very rich.
For instance, 27-year-old Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, better known by his online alias PewDiePie, was the highest paid YouTube star of the year, raking in a cool $15 million.
PewDiePie has more than 50 million subscribers who watch him play video games as he makes snarky comments about the game and the characters.
“He has comedic content and he's ridiculously handsome so he's got the nerdy guys that are in mom's basement playing video games," Chris Dessi, owner of social media agency Silverback Social, told Inside Edition. "'This guy's cool and he's making me laugh' and he's got every little girl that's hanging out with those guys going, 'oh yeah, I watch PewDiePie’s videos because he looks like a model.' So he's the perfect YouTube storm.”
Prankster Roman Atwood of Ohio is the second-highest paid YouTube star. He brought in $8 million, thanks to his 10 million subscribers.
The money they generate comes from the brands seeking them out. Most of the money comes from product placement in the videos, not the ads that play beforehand.
“Brands will come to them and say, 'create content either with our brand in the video, somehow, gently in the video and/or very specific branded content for us just because you are who you are,'" Dessi said. "That's how they make the big bucks. It's a new way of advertising."
The big moneymakers aren't all guys, either. A 28-year-old Canadian YouTube star named Lilly Singh earned $7.5 million this year with satirical videos about everyday situations.