This YouTube Star Earns $1M a Year

Ray William Johnson's one-man show has 1.5 billion views
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 2, 2012 5:24 PM CST
Updated Feb 5, 2012 6:00 PM CST

(Newser) – Sure, it's full of keyboard cats and double rainbows, but these days, YouTube is also a serious moneymaking machine. YouTube star Ray William Johnson is showcasing the medium's potential: With more than a billion total views, he's making about $1 million a year through his clips, insiders tell the Wall Street Journal. Thanks to a twice-weekly show that gets 5 million regular viewers, the comedian—who mocks other popular YouTube clips—currently boasts the site's biggest audience. He goes by RayWJ.

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So where does all the money come from? YouTube offers partnerships that can bring popular users between $3,000 and $9,000 per 2 million views. "Several hundred" such partners made more than $100,000 last year, an 80% jump from 2010, says a Google rep. "This is a microcosm of what's going on in the overall media landscape. We're moving from a scaled mass media to more hyper-local, niche media," says an industry expert. Indeed, scoring a few million views means a user "rivals second- and third-tier cable networks"—and YouTube's 780 million monthly unique visitors represents a far bigger audience than that of traditional TV networks. (Read more YouTube stories.)

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