YouTube’s Biggest Stars Have Changed The Game

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from Digital

Some of the world’s most powerful new media moguls have built their burgeoning empires outside of the constraints of Wall Street, beyond the reach of any Board of Directors and completely free from the tentacles of the Hollywood machine – and if you’re more than 30 years old you have probably never even heard of them. Yet these young YouTube entrepreneurs have changed the way entertainment is produced, consumed and valued in ways that could not have been imagined just a decade ago.

A Case Study: PewDiePie

Did you know that the most watched YouTube channel in the world was created by a young Swede named  Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg?  He goes by the PewDiePie and his commentaries about video games have been viewed more than 8 BILLION times. Kjellberg, who was born in 1989, is now worth tens of millions. Estimates are that the PewDiePie channel on YouTube pulls in more than $8 million a year in advertising revenue, and that’s after YouTube takes its 45% cut of the “pie’. Where once having a YouTube “channel” was dismissed as little more than a silly euphemism for a place to post videos of the kiddies for Grandma to watch, YouTube stars have been steadily building their own channels into entertainment networks.

With more than 35 MILLION subscribers devoted to the charming Swede’s every silly, expletive laden sentence as he plays video game and provides his impressions in real time, PewdiePie has literally created his own  media empire – with no employees, no overhead and no meddling bureaucrats to mess with his product.

YouTube was launched by a former employee of Paypal on February 14, 2005. Just ten years later the worldwide YouTube audience has grown to more than one billion people who consume more than 6 BILLION HOURS of content every month. With stats like these and PewDiePie’s annual income as just one case study, it becomes easy to see how YouTube is steadily chipping away at traditional televised entertainment’s advertising revenues.

The top 5 YouTube channels now have a combined subscriber base of nearly 100 million people. Tens of thousands of hours of monthly viewing time, which was all spent watching the traditional boob tube just a few years ago, is now spent on YouTube. The ways in which entertainment is produced and consumed have changed, and there’s no going back. And if you think we’re overstating it, read on.

Business Insider’s Harrison Jacobs takes a look at this issue and explains why the future of broadcast TV looks bleak: YouTube Star has the perfect explanation for why broadcast TV is doomed.



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