February 3, 2012
YouTube's Top Star Bipasses Traditional Media
IT DOESN'T take media to make a media star any more.
The new economics of entertainment have enabled a foul-mouthed performer working on his own to carve out a very lucrative business. He doesn't have the backing of a traditional media conglomerate. He's a lone comic with a YouTube channel.
Ray William Johnson curses constantly, often gives his audience the finger and sometimes dresses up as a penguin, but he is attracting more than five million regular viewers to his twice weekly video commentaries, making him the biggest draw at Google Inc.'s online-video outlet.
Known as RayWJ, the 30-year-old has morphed into an idol of the teen set at home and abroad by ranting about others' viral YouTube videos on subjects ranging from a hippopotamus defecating to people who staple the heads of co-workers.
Thanks to his cut of his shows' ad revenue and merchandise tied to his persona, he's taking home about $1 million a year.
>Read more on the Wall Street Journal here.