From grainy webcam footage to content deals: the faces behind NZ’s top 10 YouTube channels

Over the past few years YouTube celebrities and content creators have become a great platform for advertisers to market through. The target market already actively seeks out the material, so all they need to do is weave a bit of marketing magic into the content and see themselves put in front of a million pairs of eyes. Here’s New Zealand’s top 10 subscribed-to accounts making waves over the interwebs.

1. Shaaanxo (1,980,108 subscribers, 730 videos, 167.5 million views compared to 1.2 million subscribers and 90,836,960 views last year)

Shannon Harris, originally from Palmerston North created her YouTube channel in early 2010 and hit one million subscribers towards the end of last year. She’s now an official partner of YouTube makes a fulltime living from uploading videos about fashion and beauty, her boob job, ya know, the usual stuff. Through her popularity on YouTube she’s also launched her own brand xoBeauty through which she sells makeup brushes and false eyelashes, according to Stuff. She also went on a Contiki roadtrip last year for YouTube ‘vloggers’ and was the only person from outside North America.

2. Jamie’s World (1,393,858 subscribers, 74 videos, 55.9 million views compared to last year’s 1.2 million subscribers and 39,835,785 views)

Napier’s Jamie Curry has a massive army of young fans who watch her every video religiously on her channel ‘Jamie’s World’. Her videos usually consist of her being a bit dorky and focusing on lifestyle issues that young girls can relate to. Like Harris, she too makes a living from her channel. Recently she’s partaken in a bit of content marketing, partnering up with Kiwibank for the KB Series, documenting her big move from Napier to Auckland and the financial woes that came with it. Netflix also brought her onboard for its launch into the Australasian market and Coca-Cola commissioned her to promote its #colouryoursummer campaign.

3. Wacky Wednesday (1,046,529 subscribers, 87 videos, 153.1 million views compared to last year’s 123,000 subscribers and 10,715,000 views)

Wacky Wednesday’s audience has grown enormously from last year, where it sat ninth on our top ten ratings. It’s now skyrocketed to third and has increased its subscriber based from just over 100,000 to just over one million. Not bad! The Wacky Wednesday channel mainly consists of quirky lists like ’13 most mysterious UFO sightings ever’, ’10 freaky urban legends that could be true’, ’15 stupid lottery winners’ and ’15 unbelievable body modifications’. The channel would appeal to those who are obsessed with conspiracy series and the supernatural, the content has no Kiwi basis really other than the fact it’s based in the country.

4. Shaaanxo Vlogs (386,443 subscribers, 300 videos, 23 million views compared to last year’s 239,000 subscribers and 15,025,855 views)

Harris has seen such success with her beauty channel that she launched a personal account consisting of ‘Vlogs, cooking, chats and more’ according to her YouTube profile for the account.

5. Ela Gale (361,151 subscribers, 123 videos, 26.2 million views compared to last year’s 163,000 subscribers and 9,173,000 views)

Ela Gale started her channel in June 2013 and has grown very quickly, doubling her subscriber base from last year and overtaking missAnnsh who was **** in the top 10 last year. Gale posts a lot of DIY videos, consisting of homemade beauty products and healthy raw food and vegan recipes.

6. missAnnsh (309,063 subscribers, 180 videos, 27.9 million views compared to last year’s 189,000 subscribers and 15,236,000 views)

MissAnnsh is a New Zealand-based vlogger who has gained popularity through her channel where she posts beauty tips in her native language Russian tongue and much like the channels of Shaaanxo and Ella Gale, these beauty advice channels appear to gain a lot of popularity. As we mentioned in last year’s list, a decline in readership of women’s magazines suggests consumers may prefer to get makeup and beauty advice from YouTube personalities where they have the convenience of learning from a detailed video showing a clear step-by-step rather than a short written description in a magazine.

7. AzzMan (279,462 subscribers, 714 videos, 42.9 million views, was not in top 10 last year)

AzzMan posts videos for gamers, about various games ranging from “Funny games, weird games, crazy games and all things eggcellent” as his YouTube profile reads. In most videos he introduces a game and then plays it while a little picture of himself on the bottom left of the screen gives a humorous, running commentary, essentially giving a review. He also includes links on where to purchase cheap games.

8. Lorde (277,751 subscribers, two videos, 85.7 million views)

New Zealand’s musical sweetheart Lorde has unsurprisingly made the top 10. Strangely the channel included in the list only has two videos uploaded, yet still has close to 300,000 followers. Her Vevo channel, is much more active, but with a few less subscribers at 2,658,526.

9. Peter Jackson (242,949 subscribers, 33 videos, 36.9 million views compared to last year’s 238,000 subscribers and 33,097,000 views)

The popularity of New Zealand filmmaker Peter Jackson’s YouTube channel has waned somewhat since last year, where he has slipped to 9th from being 5th on the list. We imagine due to the Hobbit films having all been released, and thus the director leaving the public consciousness for a while. Jackson’s channel consists of videos about the making of The Hobbit films, with a series of production diaries for the films. The last video uploaded is from 10 months ago.

10. Mt Eden Official (226,180, 53 videos, 113 million views, was not in top 10 last year)

Mt Eden are a dubstep production duo whose tracks have made quite a splash with their remix of Delerium’s Silence and Lisa Miskovsky’s Still Alive being their most viewed song on YouTube with more than 40 million views. The duo have over 100 million combined video views and are signed with Ultra Music for a multi-album record deal.

A few others included in the top 100 that didn’t make it into the top 10 are Matt Mulholland who was 10th last year who is now 15th with 113,983 subscribers. Jono and Ben came in 19th with 103,898 subscribers. Jamie McDell is 28th at 84,350 subscribers, the All Blacks came in 30th with 82,756 subscribers and Kim Dotcom came in 59th with 45,481 subscribers. 

A common question around YouTube content creators is how much they earn. While a few can make a fulltime living off it, is it really that much?

YouTuber Ben Willingdorf from Quebec told The Link that ad revenue is necessary for a proper career. “YouTube by itself wouldn’t work as a career … [it]allows you to open doors to other things that work as a career,” he said.

“I don’t think it can be a solid source of income on a long-term basis. […] On YouTube usually you’re only relevant for three years and then you kind of dim down,” he said. “Mostly after three years people turn to brand deals and stuff like that to maintain their income.”

But then again, Swedish-born YouTube content creator Felix Kjellberg, known online as PewDiePie made US7.4 million last year, largely from screaming at video games. Go figure.

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