You all knew YouTube stars were Kind Of A Big Deal with the #teens, but thanks to a survey by Variety, now you can shake your head and sigh at just how big of a deal they are. When YouTube launched in 2005, few could've predicted that enterprising young folks recording themselves from their homes could be bigger than global pop stars, but at least among 13-18 year old Americans, that's very much the case.
Here's how Variety explains the survey:
"The survey, conducted for Variety by celebrity brand strategist Jeetendr Sehdev, asked 1500 respondents a battery of questions assessing how 20 well-known personalities stacked up in terms of approachability, authenticity and other criteria considered aspects of their overall influence. Half the 20 were drawn from the English-language personalities with the most subscribers and video views on YouTube, the other half were represented by the celebrities with the highest Q scores among US teens aged 13-17, as of March."
The highest-ranking non-YouTube star is Paul Walker (RIP) at #6. The top 5 are all strictly online, and here's all you need to know to start pretending that, like, yeah, you were totally a fan way before it was cool.
Smosh's ascent on YouTube began in 2005, when the then-17 year olds Ian Andrew Hecox and Anthony Padilla uploaded a video of them lip syncing to the Pokemon theme song. For six months, it was the most viewed video in the site's nascent history. Since then they've posted hundreds of videos, covering songs, performing skits and pranks, and just generally being funny on the internet. They've also dipped back into the Pokemon well a bunch of times with their Pokemon In Real Life videos.
2. The Fine Bros.
The Fine Bros' Teens React video series bring unbelievable amount of joy, but that's just one aspect of The Fine Bros' production. Actual for real brothers Benny and Rafi Fine had been trying to break into Hollywood for years when they finally decided to pursue their passion online. The React videos may've netted them a handful of awards, but The Fine Bros have also run a bunch of other series including Last Moments in Relationships, Lindsay Lohan Needs Real Friends, and LOST: What Will Happen Next?. They're also the creators ofMyMusic, a sitcom funded by YouTube to the tune of US$100 million and finished its second season in January.
PewDiePie is a handsome Swedish dude who plays video games and commentates. That's basically it, but PewDiePie is currently the most subscribed-to channel on YouTube. Like, the entire site. Far from your regular Let's Plays, PewDiePie's commentary is colourful, to say the least, and some of this videos are preeeeety weird. That said, this video he did with his girlfriend Marzia is very cute.
Beginning 2009, KSIOlajidebt came up commentating on video games but has since branched out into skits and even rap. The dude was on a track with Sway ("YOU AIN'T GOT THE ANSWERS SWAY") which, just guessing, isn't something many YouTubers can say.
5. Ryan Higa
Higa got his start in lip-syncing but after YouTube began cracking down on copyrighted materials in videos, all of his covers were deleted. Since then Higa's made his mark uploading jokey How Tos and other comedic videos.