Recently, Forbes listed the top 10 highest paid YouTube channels of 2018. Number one on the list was user Ryan Toys Review, fronted by a seven-year-old named Ryan. The channel was estimated to have earned 22 million dollars over the past year. Other YouTubers on the list included video game commentators and makeup artists.
The list has sparked conversation about YouTube as a profession, including discourse regarding the fairness of YouTube wages.
Senior Alison Carroll stated, “YouTube, as a profession, is becoming more acceptable these days because more people are making a lot of money. But I think when it was just starting out, people didn’t really take it seriously.”
Carroll further explained what she believed to be the work of a YouTuber.
“I think, behind the scenes, it is an everyday job because you have to edit, you have to plan, you have to shoot, you have to do everything and make sure you can be where you need to be — like getting rights to show certain people or certain songs and things. I think that’s an everyday type of thing. Even if its not making a video every day, it’s working on some related thing,” she said.
Mt. Hebron students had mixed opinions on whether or not YouTubers are paid fairly.
Carroll stated, “A lot of people have really good content, but they’re not getting monetized.”
Senior Maddie Wright added, “YouTube itself doesn’t pay for them, but I think it’s [level of] monetizing is kind of stupid.”
Carroll elaborated claiming, “I think that content is based on the review thing, so it goes hand in hand with the retail market with all the toys and consumerist [content] like games and stuff like that. But people who are creating more ‘entertainment’ content, like Jeffree Star, they’re creating it more for an enjoyment factor, and they’re not getting as much money. Of course, they have their merch and stuff, but it’s not as much.”
Senior Mallaika Majid had a different opinion, stating, “[How a Youtuber is paid] depends on who the YouTuber is, I think, especially the content that they make. For example, Pewdiepie — all he does is make meme videos and reaction videos and stuff like that. Do you really think he deserves all that money that he makes just sitting at home on his computer?”
YouTube economics has introduced a controversial career path in which people get paid significant sums of money for producing original content. As discussed in Forbes’ review, the idea that a seven-year-old can make 22 million dollars suggests YouTube will be an occupation that will continue to increase in popularity over time.