Study: PewDiePie is YouTube's highest earner at $8m a month

And no one else even comes close.

PewDiePie at a 2015 event. (Photo credit: Getty Images)
PewDiePie at a 2015 event. (Photo credit: Getty Images)

BIRMINGHAM, U.K.: PewDiePie, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, is YouTube’s highest earner by a mile, according to a study by Purple Moon Promotional Products.  

The Swedish video-game personality, who has 98 million YouTube subscribers, potentially rakes in nearly $8 million in monthly revenue, including more than $6.8 million from selling merchandise and more than $1.1 million in advertising, according to the study. 

Purple Moon compiled data using a tool by Sellfy, which bills itself as the "YouTube Money calculator," determining the minimum and maximum amount a channel can earn through advertising and merchandise. Purple Moon’s figures were an average of these two amounts, said a spokesperson for the company. 

PewDiePie sells merchandise through two websites: apparel company Represent.com and ShopPewDiePie.com. He also has 17.7 million followers on Instagram and more than 440,000 on streaming platform DLive.

PewDiePie previously streamed on rival platform Twitch, but switched to DLive exclusively in April. He earned $15.5 million last year, according to The New York Times

Disney ended a partnership it had with PewDiePie in 2017 after some of his videos were found to have anti-Semitic jokes or neo-Nazi imagery. The man who shot 49 people in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March also referenced the "subscribe to PewDiePie" meme as he streamed the Mosque shooting on Facebook. PewDiePie denounced the gunman.

Dude Perfect was the second-highest-earning YouTube channel, with 44 million subscribers generating more than $29 million by selling products and $490,000 in advertising, according to the survey. YouTube’s biggest sports channel, Dude Perfect was created by five friends from Texas who do trick shots and stunts. 

VanossGaming came in third, picking up more than $2.2 million in merchandise sales and almost $380,000 in advertising; it has 24 million subscribers. DanTDM, a British video game channel with 24 million subscribers, makes more than $2.2 million in merchandise and almost $365,000 in advertising.

Rounding out the top five is Chilean YouTuber JuegaGerman, who creates comedy, gaming and other types of content. He has 35 million subscribers on his active channel. His other channel, HolaSoyGerman, which has hosted most of his skits, appears to be inactive with the last video uploaded two years ago. It has 39 million subscribers. 

Sellfy said it arrived at its merchandise figures by relying on data from thousands of YouTubers, according to the company’s website. It grouped them into six buckets based on channel views.

"Your income estimates will be calculated based on YouTubers similar to you," the company explained on its website. "From there, we take the average product price across all our stores and using our previously calculated purchase likelihood, we calculate the range of potential income."

Sellfy calculated each channel’s advertising revenue by using a CPM range, which is "how much an advertiser pays for 1,000 views of [its] ad." Sellfy’s product relied on the most common CPM range of $0.25 to $4.



Data via Purple Moon

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