YouTube is massive, absolutely huge. It's one of the best websites of our time and is constantly growing even bigger every year. Since being acquired by Google it has inflated massively and Google have found a way to pay back the people who bring in viewers - partnerships.
Partnerships enable you to place ads on your video and get exclusive access to features and customisation options which the average YouTuber won't. Recently though YouTube has enabled for anyone to place advertisements on their video, all they need is a valid AdSense account.
Many seem to think that YouTube is just a place to watch videos and have a laugh, most people don't actually know that you can live off uploading videos. If you asked the average person on the street they most likely wouldn't have a clue. They especially don't know how much you can potentially earn.
ReadWrite did an article on a transparency problem within the YouTube industry, however we won't go into that because that's a whole different matter. However the article did state some facts about some of the biggest YouTubers and how much they earn.
RayWilliamJohnson is the biggest YouTuber right now, with the highest amount of subscribers. He's known for his sense of humour and picking out viral videos to share with others. He's an internet celebrity. One of the craziest facts about him though is that he became a millionaire in April 2011 from his YouTube videos. He first started in 2008, but didn't really get anywhere in the first year or so. In 2009 he stepped up the quality of his videos and then in 2010 he really blew up. So within 3 years he became a millionaire - something I'm sure he even knew would happen.
Philip DeFranco who talks about current and latest news, and women, is also another huge YouTube star. He admitted via a Reddit AMA that he pays himself $100,000 a year and then invests the rest into his channel, which apparently is another six figure number every month. But it doesn't stop there. He is also part of Revision 3, another video network. They pay him another six figure salary every month. So he is easily earning over a million a year.
These are just two of the biggest YouTube stars, there are many others which are earning similar amounts. According to the infographic below by OpenSlate, the average earnings for the top 1000 YouTube channels is $23,000, which in itself is a large amount anyway.
One thing you have to remember though is that most of these YouTubers probably earned little or even nothing in their first year, they created videos because they loved to. It usually takes years of hard work to build up a good following on YouTube. Unless you're a lucky one who becomes viral in the first few months.