You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

MEET THE YOUTUBE MILLIONAIRES: These are the highest-paid YouTube stars of 2016

Tech Insider logo Tech Insider 10-12-2016 Nathan McAlone

Replay Video
YouTube has exploded since it first launched in 2005, becoming the de facto launchpad for the next generation of internet celebrities.

It's no secret that YouTube's biggest stars are using sponsored videos and advertising to make a living on the platform, in addition to just making a name for themselves.

Over the past few years, they have also begun to snag big-time shows from places like Netflix or YouTube Red, the company's subscription tier, and pump out memoirs.

But who on YouTube is getting paid the most? 

Forbes recently published its look at which YouTube stars made the most money in 2016. The publication based its rankings on raw, pre-tax estimates of earnings.

Here they are: 

No. 9 (tie): Colleen Ballinger — $5 million

<span style="font-size:13px;">YouTube/Miranda Sings</span>© Provided by Business Insider IncYouTube/Miranda Sings

Income: $5 million 

Colleen Ballinger and her alter-ego, the hilariously incompetent Miranda Sings, have landed both a memoir, Self-Helf, and Netflix series, to go along with a standup tour.

No. 9 (tie): Rhett & Link — $5 million

<span style="font-size:13px;">Rhett and Link</span>© Provided by Business Insider IncRhett and Link

Income: $5 million

Rhett McLaughlin and Charles Lincoln Neal III are a little old for the YouTube star demographic — they're 38 and 37 years old — but they're insanely well-known on the video platform. Rhett and Link are best known for making hilarious local-style ads for real companies, like Ojai Valley Taxidermy and Red House Furniture, and they've gotten sponsorship from big brands for many of their videos. They host a morning talk show call "Good Mythical Morning" that snags superstar guests.

No. 7 (tie): Germán Garmendia — $5.5 million

German Garmendia (L) and actress Lenay Olsen attend the 6th annual Streamy Awards hosted by King Bach and live streamed on YouTube at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on October 4, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California.© Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for dick clark productions German Garmendia (L) and actress Lenay Olsen attend the 6th annual Streamy Awards hosted by King Bach and live streamed on YouTube at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on October 4, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. Income: $5.5 million 

Chilean YouTuber Germán Germendia is Latin America's biggest YouTube star. The comedian and musician has two channels in the top 20. He released a book in 2016 titled "#Chupaelperro."

No. 7 (tie): Markiplier — $5.5 million

Markiplier attends the official Streamy Awards nominee reception at YouTube Space LA on October 1, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.© Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for YouTube Markiplier attends the official Streamy Awards nominee reception at YouTube Space LA on October 1, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. Income: $5.5 million 

Mark Fischbach, better known as Markiplier, is a YouTuber focused on gaming. He has an energetic style that involves a bit of swearing and a lot of emotion. Fischbach has ambitions beyond YouTube, as well.

“I want to push myself into music and acting—more traditional media stuff,” he told Variety earlier this year. “If someone wants to make a movie and have me in it, I want to make sure I have the skill set to do it properly.” 

No. 5 (tie): Tyler Oakley — $6 million

<span style="font-size:13px;">YouTube/Tyler Oakley</span>© Provided by Business Insider IncYouTube/Tyler Oakley

Income: $6 million 

LGBTQ activist and YouTube personality Tyler Oakley mixes comedy with pop culture and politics. It's no wonder that he's found a supporter in Ellen DeGeneres, who signed him to her production company. Oakley also released a memoir in 2015, called "Binge."

No. 5 (tie): Rosanna Pansino — $6 million

<span style="font-size:13px;">screenshot/YouTube</span>© Provided by Business Insider Incscreenshot/YouTube

Income: $6 million

Rosanna Pansino has the nerdiest baking channel on YouTube — and also the most popular of any baking channel on the platform, period. Pansino's "Nerdy Nummies" channel puts a nerdy spin on normal recipes, including videos for food creations like "Pi Pie Pops" and "Princess Peach Cobbler."

No. 4: Smosh — $7 million

<span style="font-size:13px;">Melly Lee/Courtesy of DEFY Media</span>© Provided by Business Insider IncMelly Lee/Courtesy of DEFY Media

Income: $7 million

Smosh is a comedy duo consisting of YouTube veterans Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla. Smosh was one of the first YouTube sensations, becoming well known for the duo's slapstick comedy videos that parody video games and pop culture. The duo has shown no signs of slowing down, and now runs seven different channels.

No. 3: Lilly Singh — $7.5 million

<span style="font-size:13px;">IISuperwomanII/YouTube</span>© Provided by Business Insider IncIISuperwomanII/YouTube

Income: $7.5 million

Lilly Singh does everything from comedy sketches to music videos on her one-woman YouTube channel. Singh also has a YouTube star nickname — Superwoman — and a rabid fan base. She went on a worldwide Trip to Island Unicorn tour last year, and released a feature film of the same name on YouTube Red, the company's premium service.

No. 2: Roman Atwood — $8 million

<span style="font-size:13px;">YouTube/Screenshot</span>© Provided by Business Insider IncYouTube/Screenshot

Income: $8 million

Roman Atwood's prank-filled YouTube channel almost seems more in-line with the humor you'd typically see from Vine stars, Twitter's video platform it's shutting down. Atwood has been dubbed YouTube's "most appalling prankster" — he's pretended to kill his own toddler multiple times, to film his girlfriend's reaction. He's also filmed many less horrifying prank videos for his channel.

No. 1: PewDiePie — $15 million

<span style="font-size:13px;">YouTube/Screenshot</span>© Provided by Business Insider IncYouTube/Screenshot

Income: $15 million

Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg is a foul-mouthed Swedish video-game commentator who has absolutely dominated YouTube over the past few years. Kjellberg's videos show him playing various video games while a box in the top corner of the screen shows his reactions to what is happening. Many attribute his success to the attention he pays to his fans — Kjellberg spends lots of time talking about them, answering their questions in the YouTube comments section, and forming a community of "bros."

Kjellberg, however, has said he will delete his massively popular YouTube channel on Friday, December 9 at 5:00 p.m. GMT, after hitting 50 million subscribers. He explains why in this video, but many aren't sure whether he is being serious or not. 

Maya Kosoff contributed to an earlier version of this post.

More from Tech Insider

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon