Did you know that YouTube is the second-most visited website on the internet (after Google), boasting 14.3 billion visits per month, more than Facebook and Wikipedia. Although content creation platforms like TikTok and Instagram are growing rapidly in popularity, YouTube still outstrips them by far.
As a leading expert in influencer marketing, I’m always interested to see who is actually making the big bucks in the world of content creation, so when the latest report YouTube Rich List report from CashNetUSA landed in my inbox, it was great timing.
The report looks across the world at the big picture, and examines major territories.Using SocialBlade’s database of YouTube channel data, CashNetUSA found the top-earning channel in every country/region and was able to estimate the channel’s lifetime earnings.
There’s quite a lot of information, but I wanted to share some of the main highlights with you.
For the full detail, you can also read the complete report here.
First, just how big is YouTube?
694,000 hours of video are streamed on the platform every minute, while 500 hours of content are uploaded every minute.
Compare this with Netflix, which, despite streaming feature-length movies, commands just 452,000 streaming hours per minute.
It’s been possible to earn a living from content creation on YouTube since 2007, and a 2019 survey revealed that there’s a whole generation of kids who, having grown up with it, see being a YouTuber as a future to aspire to.
What do the world’s biggest overall earning channels have in common?
Maybe then, it’s no surprise that the answer is: kids. The report highlights that YouTube’s Global Rich List is dominated by content created for children.
- The highest earning YouTube channel: American kids’ channel Cocomelon, earning an estimated $282.8m since its creation in 2006. At time of writing, it has over 147million subscribers, which means that (excluding channels run by media organisations), it tops the popularity list.
- In five out of six continents, the most profitable channel was content made for kids. Russia’s Like Nastya ($167.5m) and Argentina’s El Reino Infantil ($102.2m)
- American YouTuber FGTeeV has earned the most of any gaming channel, making over $47m so far.
It’s worth looking at a few other popularity stats at this point. We’re looking at specifically at the Rich List, but it’s interesting to see where some of the highest earners sit within the ‘most subscribers’ list too.
Let’s look at what the Rich List revealed by continent.
Cocomelon, Babadun VanossGaming Among Continent’s Top Earners
With three-quarters (73%) of U.S. adults reporting that they use YouTube, the US market is huge.
More than 22,000 channels currently boast more than one million subscribers, and YouTubeaccounts for 27%of North America’s mobile video traffic.
As we’ve already seen, with more than 136 billion views on their videos, children’s channel Cocomelon tops the league table of YouTube earnings in North America, and has racked up more than 136 billion views to date.
Against Cocomelon’s $282.8m, next highest earners entertainment channel Babadun, Mexico ($39.3m) and VanossGaming, Canada ($31.3m) may seem small fry, but those are pretty big earnings.
Once again, kids’ content is king, with El Reino Infantil (‘the children’s kingdom’) in English out-earning even its closest rivals, at $102.5m. It’s famous for its sing-along videos, which have attracted the attention of some big names.
Brazil, Argentina and Colombia are among YouTube’s 25 largest markets for views, with 274 billion in Brazil alone.
Europe —Gaming Channels Dominate but Like Nastya Tops The List
Europe accounts for 27% of YouTube’s global viewing figures, with the U.K., Russia and Spain among its largest markets.
Gamers are higher on the popularity (and therefore, Rich) list here with a gaming content channel being the highest earner in 16 of 45 countries.DanTDM, UK ($39.8m) and Jacksepticeye, Ireland ($32.5m) are the two highest earning gaming channels in Europe.
Once again, though, top of the earnings tree is content for kids, with Russia’s Like Nastya way ahead of the competition at $167.5m.
Like Nastya differs from some of the other kids’ channels in that it belongs to, and is presented by, Nastya herself. Anastasia (Nastya) Radzinskaya is originally from southern Russia, but she was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and moved with her parents to the United States. Her channel, which includes her own music videos, as well as videos of her with her parents, encourage kids to explore the world with her, and are hugely popular, with over 102 million subscribers.
Middle East and Central Asia
The Middle East has seen some rapid growth in YouTube channels recently, with the number of channels growing by 160% between 2015 and 2018. The region now has more than 200 channels with over1 million subscribers.
Once again, the wealthiest channel is aimed at children, with Jordanian platform Toyor Al-Jannah (toyoraljanahtv) (which translates as the Birds of Paradise channel) earning nearly $54m. The channel was one of the Middle East’s first child-dedicated YouTube channels, and includes a mixture of songs and videos aimed at children of different ages.
Vlogger Shifa (aka shfa2) comes, by the standards of the rest of the world so far, a fairly close second, at $43m. But before you get too excited about the prospect of a non-gaming, non-kid-centric channel coming high up the earnings list…Shifa’s channel, containing videos of her playing, at school etc is managed by her mum.
Mohammed Moshaya Al-Ghamdi (aka mmoshaya), next in line $34m is styled as ‘the largest family vlogger in the Middle East’, and features an entertaining mix of sketches and family challenges.
Rest of Asia and Oceania
The CashNetUSA report excluded many official Bollywood and K-Pop channels from its figures in this region, focussing on individual channels. And, in common with the rest of the world, it is children’s content that thrives here, with India’s ChuChuTV earning $81.6m.
The last decade has seen significant YouTube growth in the Asia-Pacific region, andIndia or South Korea are home to half of YouTube’s 20most subscribed channels. PewDiePie, offering a variety of entertainment videos is quite a success story rivalry with 111 million subscribers (earnings not stated though).
With only around 22% of Africa’s population having internet access, the continent has traditionally represented a smaller market, but there are signs of change here. Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa all have at least 300 channels with more than 100,000 subscribers.
For once it’s not kids’ content that dominates here, with Egypt’s حِرف إبداعية في 5 دقائق (Creative Crafts in Five Minutes) being Africa’s highest-earning channel, at $8.7m. The life hacks and how-to guide ranging from creative projects to household fixes have together been viewed more than 4 billion times.
Arabic language channels are popular across the continent, too, including Algerian cooking YouTuber Oum Walid ($4.9m).
The complete report includes a searchable table of results at the bottom, so if you’re interested in looking deeper into the numbers, head on over to the full report here.
- Content for kids dominates YouTube earnings.
According to the report, five of the 10 most viewed YouTube videos of all time* were published by channels specifically creating content for children. For the Wikipedia list of the YouTube top 30, click here.
With around 34% of parents in the US regularly allowing their kids to watch YouTube content (but 61% reporting unsuitable content, it’s not surprising that channels based solely on stuff for kids are popular. (figures according to Pew Research Center)
- Gaming is the second highest earning genre. YouTube has always been popular with gamers, and videos of Minecraft, the world’s best-selling video game, have been viewed more than a trillion times.
- YouTube is still growing. Despite competitors like TikTok and Instagram, YouTube’s mainstream popularity means that its growth shoes no sign of slowing down.
What does all this mean for you? If you’re a YouTuber (or aspire to be) it might be tempting to think that your chances of success are less if you’re not a kids’ creator or gamer. But remember that, with 694,000 hours of video being streamed on the platform every minute, there’s room for everyone, and with the right approach, you’ve got the potential to earn a living whatever your niche.
To talk about how, get in touch.
If you’d like to talk about how to build or develop your influencer marketing strategy or how to connect with the right influencer marketing agency for your brand, get in touch. I’d love to chat.
Gordon Glenister is also the author of the book, Influencer Marketing Strategy. Learn:
- how to build an influencer strategy
- what makes a great influencer
- about the rise of Clubhouse and Tik Tok
- about future digital trends for connecting with a digital customer
Find out more and order your copy at: Influencer Marketing Strategy Book By Gordon Glenister – Gordon Glenister
*The most viewed YouTube video of all time? Baby Shark. If you really need reminding, click here (But don’t blame me for the earworm!)