Who is Mr. Beast?
Jimmy ‘Mr. Beast’ Donaldson is an American YouTuber who began YouTube in 2012 at age 13, under the handle “MrBeast6000”. Born on May 7, 1998, Donaldson’s passion for YouTube content creation is so huge that he reportedly dropped out of college in order to pursue a full-time career as a YouTuber. His early contents ranged from ‘Let’s Plays’ to “videos estimating the wealth of other YouTubers”. However, his videos remained in relative obscurity – averaging around a thousand views each – until the release of his 2017 “counting to 100,000” video that “earned tens of thousands of views in just a few days”. As of December 2019, Donaldson had over 28 million subscribers on YouTube and holds the record as the YouTuber whose videos have each averaged 10 million views in 12 straight months.
What’s his exceptional record?
Mr. Beast has accomplished a feat that no other individual creator has achieved in YouTube history. He has 10 million views on every single video he’s posted for more than a year straight. Now people are trying to imitate his rise to the top.
How he began
In early 2017, Jimmy ‘Mr. Beast’ Donaldson, began to skyrocket in popularity, his videos growing bigger and more ambitious alongside the new viewership. Donaldson started publishing 12-hour videos of himself performing lengthy but mundane tasks (like reading every word in the dictionary), and he has progressed into much showier stunt performances. He’s become known for large-scale, exhausting, and expensive challenge videos, with premises that include “Paying People $10,000 To Eat Ghost Pepper,” “I Bought Everything In A Store,” and “Last To Remove Hand, Wins House.” They’ve helped his channel grown from 100,000 subscribers to 25 million subscribers in less than two years.
What he earns monthly
Some sources say Mr. Beast earns about $600K monthly. Yet another rough estimate shows that Mr. Beast’s revenue stands anywhere between $300K-$400K per month. This sums up to $3.6-$4.8 million per year. Remember this is only a rough estimate; The actual figure could easily scale up to $15–20 million per year.
People who copy his style have also gone viral
Donaldson’s strategies had a disruptive effect on YouTube as other YouTubers began to copy his style to boost their own channels. They started adopting his grandeur challenges and sponsor-fueled money giveaways becoming an overnight sensation. Other YouTubers, like Azzyland and MindofRez, have also run with Donaldson’s ideas, adding their own takes to some of his more popular videos or sometimes going one step further to parody them. In one instance, the channel Tiana published a video reenacting the exact same challenge Donaldson did five months earlier. The video, “Last One to Leave the Slime Pool,” netted Tiana more than 2 million views. Another YouTuber, Carter Sharer, copied Donaldson’s “Last One to Leave Roof” challenge and pulled in more than 12 million views in the process.
Another strategy that worked for Mr. Beast
The use of challenges to entice viewers is just one part of the formats Donaldson has popularized. Other videos include buying as much of one product as possible and using it in an absurd way. For example, one of Donaldson’s most popular videos is “I Put Millions of Pennies in my Friend’s Backyard.”
This style of video is something longtime YouTuber and Smosh co-founder Anthony Padilla refers to as “junklord YouTube.” Effectively, a creator will spend an exuberant amount of money on an absurd amount of product — 1 million red Lego blocks or 10,000 pounds of dry ice — that’s meant to be used for one video, and the sheer extravagance and oddity pull in curious viewers.
“It doesn’t matter what the item is, or the topic of the video anymore, really,” Rob Wilson, a YouTube creator and analyst at VidIQ, told The Verge. “They’re just fascinated in what [Donaldson] does. He has the ideas of a 12-year-old and he turns them into a reality in a way YouTubers haven’t done before.”
No one has perfected the model like Donaldson, but that hasn’t stopped others from trying. One creator, in particular — Morgan “Morgz” Hudson — has attracted ire from the creator community because of his attempts to copy Donaldson’s stunts. Hudson has used extremely similar thumbnails while re-creating some of Donaldson’s most viral videos, including spending a night in prison as part of a challenge. Members of popular YouTube collectives like Faze Clan have shouted out Donaldson in their own versions of his videos, including stunts like, “Paying for Everything You Can Carry.”
“There’s something in the human brain that is just, ‘Oh my god, there are so many of these things, I have to see it,’” Padilla said in a video examining the rise of Mr. Beast copycats. “There’s no doubt that watching someone waste a whole bunch of money, doing something ridiculous with a whole bunch of things, is fascinating.”
“If I were to assume what the minds of most YouTubers think, it would be mainly just to get views because I don’t think anyone really likes spending $10,000 on a video,” Korol told The Verge. “But you have to have some passion and want to actually do it because it would reflect off your video if you’re not having a fun time. It’s still definitely 90 percent wanting to get views.”
According to The Verge, Donaldson’s over-the-top-stunt-content-meets-philanthropy is just the latest trend. When Minecraft became a big focus point on YouTube, non-gaming creators found ways to rack in those views. Others have dropped their channel’s mainstay content to focus on becoming drama vloggers or commentators. Borrowing formats isn’t entirely frowned upon, but the YouTube community appreciates it when creators bring enthusiasm and an original approach to the mix so it doesn’t just feel like they’re doing it for the views.
“Ultimately, I think anybody can do it because Mr. Beast has proved that this is a successful model,” Wilson told The Verge. “It’s probably going to be harder to replicate because it’s not a unique idea anymore. No one is doing it bigger or better than him.”
It is clear that Mr. Beast’s strategies are very effective but probably expensive for most upcoming YouTubers to replicate. YouTube viewers definitely have an appetite for the gargantuan style of videos Mr. Beast makes and this leads to explosive views per video which he has had in the past year: 10 million views per video. But one thing upcoming YouTubers who want to hit it big should take away from Donaldson’s videos is extreme creativity. He does not do the ordinary so his level of success is not ordinary at all.