PewDiePie $12 Million Banner Year: Channel Tops Forbes YouTube Earners List

October 19, 2015 | By Garrett Montgomery More

PewDiePie added $12 million to his bank account last year thanks to his hilarious YouTube videos. According to a new list published by Forbes, PewDiePie, AKA Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, is the richest YouTuber in the world with over 39 million subscribers and more than 10 billion video views.


PewDiePie is a $12 million man thanks to his funny and original YouTube videos. A new list released by Forbes Magazine showed that PewDiePie, whose real name is Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, made over $12 million in 2014, some reports even pushed the number to 16.

PewDiePie launched his channel in 2010 after dropping from the Chalmers University of Technology where he was working on a degree in Industrial Economics and Technology Management. By 2013, PewDiePie had the most subscribed channel on YouTube with more than 39 million subscribers and had received over 10 billion video views and was able to beat pop star Rihanna.

After leaving school, his disappointed parents cut all of financial support, forcing the young man to work at a hot dog stand to make a living during the day and using his nights to come up with the hilarious clips.

In each post, he is seen playing a video game, (he is a big fan of Independent video games also known as indie games), making a commentary, which is often funny, energetic, and filled with profanity along with singing. The 25-year-old mogul from Sweden, who hides away from fame with his lover, YouTube personality Marzia Bisognin, opened up about his days at the hot dog stand saying:

“…the fact that I could make videos was so much more important to me than [that] I had to spend a few hours a day doing a job that wasn’t that prestigious..I knew people were big at other types of videos, but there was no one big in gaming, and I didn’t know you could make money out of it. It was never like a career that I could just quit college to pursue. it was just something I loved to do. And here we are five years later and it’s exploded.”

Coming in second place is Smosh, a group composed of Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla, who made $8.5 million with a series of short sketches around Pokémon. The pair has a movie coming out later this year.

The Fine Brothers took in $8.5 million with their React series of videos, which show people reacting to other online clips, including those by PewDiePie. In the fourth spot is Lindsey Stirling, who sings and dances while playing the violin.

Forbes explained how the YouTube stars make their millions:

“Most of their earnings comes from advertisements—both sponsored, integrated content and the pesky, inescapable previews—but some of these stars are diversifying into the television, movie and music industries.

“The publishing industry has been especially welcoming to these stars: Four have books out or in the pipeline. A few have their own product lines, selling everything from beanies and underwear to eyeliner and lip-gloss.”

Here are the top 10 YouTubers for 2014:

1. PewDiePie: US$12 million

2. (Tie) Smosh and Fine Brothers: US$8.5 million

4. Lindsey Stirling: US$6 million

5. (Tie) Rhett & Link and KSI: US$4.5 million

7. Michelle Phan: US$3 million

8. (Tie) Lilly Singh, Roman Atwood and Rosanna Pansino: US$2.5 million

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Category: Tech

Comments (4)

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  1. Calvin says:

    Whether you like this guy’s videos or not, you have to admit he is the embodiment of successes—of rags to riches. He went from selling hot dogs to living his dream. I have to respect that.

  2. Brenda says:

    Awesome job! Love the bit I watched, it was too intense for me. It took me back to my all night video game days. Stress, cussing, not getting anything done. Then along came the Internet

  3. Robert says:

    I’ve watched a few of his videos. They’re not for me, clearly for little kids and teens which is why he is probably so popular–I don’t know a single person over 21 who likes his material. But I say bravo to anyone who’s managed to build such a following on YouTube. Excellent job.

  4. Chris says:

    I just think it’s funny that the thumbnail for the video is Markiplier.

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