If someone ask 5-year-old kids 20 years ago what they wanted to do when they grow up, the most possible answer would be a pilot or a firefighter. No kid would have said “I want to make viral videos for a living”.
Well some of these 5-year-old kids are now millionaires creating videos through YouTube and the popularity of this career path has been growing rapidly.
No one is better in making a living out of viral videos than Ray William Johnson.
While in his Columbia University dorm room, RWJ had this ingenious idea to create viral videos while commenting on other viral videos online and eventually this idea became his full time job after school.
He started the series “Equals Three” on YouTube in 2008 and every week he would show three viral videos of the week and comment on them in a humorous way. In just 4 years, with a video every week, RWJ income in 2012 was estimated to be $1 million a year. Since the beginning of his YouTube career, it is estimated to have made more than $7.5 million with 750 videos! His channel was the first YouTube channel to reach 5 million subscribers.
RWJ is not the only young video producer to have such great success but he was definitely the blogger who expanded the industry the most and one of the founders of making viral videos for a living.
His success is based highly on the great idea of the “Equal Three” series and the way he produced his videos. According to last week’s article, RWJ has most of the 6 categories. His videos were about current viral videos so they had great social currency and his personal brought a lot of ethos and pathos into his work.
Unfortunately, he has now decided to start a career as a producer outside of YouTube but the ‘Equals Three” series is still going on with a different presenter. The show is currently having a very small success compared to the RWJ era which shows how important it is to have a great persona behind the camera.
Making viral videos is not easy, even when you aim for the six elements needed for a viral video. RWJ was able to do that before anyone even knew what a viral video was.
It is very interesting how a career path that did not exist 10 years ago, has now created millionaires. I wonder what YouTube producers will be doing in the next few years. Are they going to have the same success? Or there won’t be single producers emerging just because of the huge competition out there?