22 January 2021

Bloomberg: “Who is MrBeast? Meet YouTube’s Top Creator of 2020”

Then, one day, he was struck with an idea for a video that he was sure would work. It was as simple as counting. Donaldson sat down in a chair and, for the the next 40-plus hours, murmured one number after the next, starting from zero and continuing all the way to 100,000. At the end of the exhausting stunt, he looked deliriously at the camera. What am I doing with my life? he said.

It was an oddly mesmerizing performance, the kind of thing every kid in elementary school thinks about but never tries. The resulting video — entitled “I Counted To 100,000!” — was a viral smash. Since its debut on Jan. 8, 2017, it has earned over 21 million views.

Donaldson now generates tens of millions of dollars in advertising sales from his social media feeds, which include his main channel, a gaming channel and pages on other social media sites. He invests almost every dollar back into his business. In recent years, his average cost of making a single video has climbed to $300,000 from $10,000. Money is a vehicle to do bigger videos and make better content, he said.

To date, his priciest video cost $1.2 million. In it, he promised to give $1 million to the contestant who could keep his hand on a stack of cash for the longest period of time. In the end, he felt bad for the three people who didn’t get the $1 million, so he gave them some money too.

Lucas Shaw & Mark Bergen

Interesting insight into the so-called ‘creator economy’, and how much effort is needed to become a YouTube hit and start earning serious money. Granted, this is an extreme example, but will increasing competition, each creator has to invest more and more time and resources to stand out from the rest. A similar dynamic is unfolding on Instagram, where engagement is apparently tied to specific goals and consistent posts across all their formats. For the average creator, these levels of efforts can quickly become unsustainable.

Jimmy Donaldson, aka MrBeast
Jimmy Donaldson, aka MrBeast Source: Kovert Creative

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