The world’s most popular YouTuber earned R204 million in 2016

Forbes has released its list of top-earning YouTube stars in 2016, with the world’s most popular internet star taking home over $15 million (R204 million) this year.

Swedish ‘Let’s Play’ YouTuber, Felix Kjellberg – known as PewDiePie – has retained the top spot on the list, leveraging his sizeable audience to make money beyond YouTube revenue made from people watching him play video games online.

The YouTube star extended his reach through branded mobile games, and even published a book, taking his total earnings for the year up to $15 million (up from the $12 million he made in 2015).

This is significantly higher than anyone else on the list – almost double 2016’s number 2, Roman Atwood, who managed to make $8 million this year.

Atwood is a popular “vlogger” (video blogger) and prankster, whose YouTube channel gained more attention in 2016, having grown by 70% to over 10 million subscribers during the course of the year.

These are the top-earning YouTubers in the world.

(Warning: the videos below may contain strong language)


Felix Kjellberg (PewDiePie) – $15 million

Kjellberg’s main claim to fame is providing commentary while live-streaming his playthroughs of video games.

Kjellberg has been highly critical of YouTube and its opaque policies, and has started publishing content outside of Google’s platform.


Roman Atwood – $8 million

Atwood is a popular prank comedian who has over 10.1 million followers on YouTube.


Lilly Singh – $7.5 million

Lilly Singh is a stand-up comedian and is also a singer. She goes by the YouTube name Superwoman, and has toured the world with her music.


Smosh – $7 million

Smosh is comprised of childhood friends Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla. They do sketch comedy, and have even made their own full-length movie.


Rosanna Pasino – $6 million

Pansino is a self-trained chef, who uploads various cooking and baking tutorials on YouTube.


Tyler Oakley – $6 million

Tyler Oakley is another “vlogger” who gained fame on YouTube. His channel gained so much popularity that he eventually caught the eye of Ellen Degeneres, who signed him up for his own bit on her network.


Markiplier – $5.5 million

Markiplier is another YouTuber who has made a name for himself by providing commentary while playing video games. He also produces other random content.


German Garmendia – $5.5 million

Garmedia is the biggest Latin American YouTube star. He is a Chilean comedian and musician, and is also the youngest person listed by Forbes. As with most popular YouTubers, he dabbles in various forms of entertainment – including vlogging, sketch comedy and video game ‘Let’s Plays’.


Rhett and Link – $5 million

Rhett McLaughlin and Charles Lincoln Neal host their own morning television newscast type show on YouTube.


Colleen Ballinger (Miranda Sings) – $5 million

Ballinger is a comedian and singer – however she gained fame for her character Miranda Sings, who is an extremely awkward parody of many people who upload videos of themselves singing songs to YouTube, but are actually really poor singers.


Read: The world’s highest-paid YouTube stars (2015)

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