The Annoying Orange (Dane Boedigheimer)– $3.4m (4 million Subscribers)
The first entry on our list has to be the strangest of them all. Created by Dane Boedigheimer, The Annoying Orange comedy web series has grown to be one of the biggest channels on YouTube. The premise is pretty hard to explain, but it centres on an anthropomorphic orange that likes nothing more than to drive fruit, vegetables and a host of other random objects to the edge of breaking point. All in all the show is more than a little moronic, but that has not stopped it becoming extremely popular on a medium that is famed for its love of cat pictures, internet memes, the Numa Numa Guy, and a host of other weird and arguably wonderful stuff. But it appears the internet has spoken and 4 million people at least love this channel, even though most critics have labelled it as just plain awful. You be the judge, but remember, every view helps put another dollar in the pocket of the people that make this rubbish.
Jenna Marbles (Jenna Mourey)– $4.3m (14.3 million Subscribers)
This vlogger opted for the pseudonym Jenna Marbles in order to stop people Googling her, because when she first started uploading videos to YouTube, she was worried her mother would disapprove about the content – mainly the language. But it does not matter much anymore though, as she has grown to become one of the most recognisable faces and biggest stars of the YouTube universe. Originally from Rochester, New York she now resides along the sunny shores of Santa Monica and boasts more Twitter follows, subscribers and Facebook likes on her page to make even the biggest names in Hollywood feel a little envious. One of the videos responsible for her fame was released in 2010 entitled “How To Trick People Into Thinking You’re Good Looking”, which received more than 5.3 million hits in just the first week after it was uploaded. It is hard to pin down her content into a particular genre, but whatever you choose to label it, it makes miss Marbles a lot of money.
DisneyCollectorBR (Real Name Unknown)– $5m (3.1 million Subscribers)
One of the biggest benefactors of YouTube is simultaneously its most elusive. All that is known about this star of the small screen is that she is a woman, with usually perfectly painted nails, who hails from Brazil, and loves nothing more than reviewing kids toys. Other than that, it appears that nobody has even the slightest inclination as to who is behind the voice that many parents have called “hypnotic” to their kids. Little children will sit in complete silence, utterly mesmerised by the videos that she uploads to the internet, which comprises of her unboxing the latest kids toy from its pristine packaging and playing with it. Advertisers must be pulling their hair out in frustration over not knowing this woman’s identity, because with her videos being watched over 2.6 billion times, they are a digital goldmine for marketing departments around the world. Let the hunt for this scarlet pimpernel commence.
Smosh (Ian Andrew Hecox and Anthony Padilla) – $5.7m (19.3 million Subscribers)
This comedy duo first met in their sixth grade science class and discovered they had a real knack for making people laugh – mostly out of sheer confusion – after they posted a video of themselves lip-syncing the theme tune of popular kids TV show Pokémon, which propelled them to internet fame. As ridiculous a starting point as this was, it gave the comedic pairing a platform, which they used to create a wide array of comical content on YouTube much to delight of their millions of subscribers. They are responsible for making numerous web series on their YouTube channel Smosh, with their videos receiving over 3.8 billion views overall. But rather than kicking back and taking some time to revel in their success they chose to diversify their new media offering, by creating spin-off channels: ElSmosh, allows users to view their original content, but dubbed in Spanish and their channel Shut Up! Cartoons, which is full of various animated videos. They have even had a movie green lit by the Canadian-American entertainment company Lionsgates, so expect to see these guys making the move from the your smartphone screen to that of the cinema’s very soon.
PewDiePie (Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg) – $7m – (32.7million Subscribers)
The highest earner on our list has managed to carve out a rather lucrative career as a videogame vlogger, rising to become the most subscribed channel on YouTube in 2013. Specialising in what is known as Let’s Play videos, in which he provides live commentary for viewers as he battles his way through popular videogames, such as horror titles Outlast and Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Kjellberg has built up a pretty impressive online following. Testament to his pervasiveness in popular culture he recently featured on Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s hit animated show South Park, in the episode REHASH. But as popular as he is, he is not short of critics, with the co-Editor-in-Chief of Variety labelling him “the gibberish-spouting clown” responsible for bringing down Western civilisation. Strong words, but whether you love him or despise him, he probably does not care, because he is probably too busy counting all that money.