Marques Brownlee, also known as MKBHD, is one of the most prominent and popular technology creators on YouTube, so it’s expected that he makes a killing each month for his content. We take a look at exactly how he makes money online.
Brownlee’s main YouTube channel, MKBHD, sits at 13.7m subscribers at the time of writing but, when he uploaded his first video in 2008, things were different.
Though he’s now synonymous with tech reviews online, that wasn’t always the plan. He started by analyzing his golf technique online at just 13 years of age, and eventually started giving his opinions on and all free software that he could download. He had an analytical mind and videos became a creative outlet for him.
While today YouTubers can make millions of dollars a year by uploading videos, it’s been a long, evolutionary 12-year journey for MKBHD. To see exactly how he’s monetizing his impressive popularity, we’ve broken down all of his known revenue streams.
How Marques Brownlee makes money
Employing a team of five — though this is poised to grow soon — Marques Brownlee was able to produce and upload over 120 videos to his MKBHD channel in 2020 alone. As is the norm on YouTube, a major source of income for he and his team is Google AdSense. As part of YouTube’s Partner program, he earns money based on views and a variable ad rate.
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Easily the second-most typical method of earning money for creators on YouTube is engaging in brand deals. Bringing in a company as a sponsor for a video can vary in cost dramatically, but Team MKBHD can command a hefty amount considering each of his videos easily accrues one million views.
Brownlee is represented by agency WME and they split the effort with him when it comes to these brand deals. According to an interview with The Verge, he negotiates the rates for collaborations and then the agency writes contracts and negotiates the terms. They take a somewhat modest cut for their involvement.
Changing medium to audio, Brownlee hosts his own podcast that’s available on every major platform. Waveform, co-hosted by Andrew Manganelli, is said to bring in money via Spotify advertisement revenue. However, according to the man himself, the podcast will soon be available in video format on YouTube and there’s another channel dedicated to hosting clips from the show. Both of these additives are likely to meet the criteria to produce ad revenue soon after they become active.
Affiliate links, merchandise, and more
Brownlee uses affiliate marketing as another revenue stream. Linking to products in the descriptions of his videos, he makes a small percentage of money each time a product is purchased by somebody who used his link. He has two lists on Amazon, for example, that contain the products he recommends and uses himself.
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Another staple for online creators is merchandise, and that rings true here too. In partnership with Cotton Bureau, he has a store containing t-shirts, sweatshirts, tank tops, enamel pins, pillows, stickers, wristbands, and a notebook. The cut he and Cotton Bureau receive from the revenue generated isn’t known, however.
While ultimate frisbee isn’t a money-printing machine such as football or basketball is, professional players get a modest income. Brownlee is a professional player for the New York Empire, competing in the American Ultimate Disc League. While surely outdated now, a report by the Chicago Tribune stated that most players in the league make “between $350 and $700 per season,” though some of the top players can make up to $1,400 in the same period.
On March 2, 2021, Brownlee announced that he would be working closely with Top Gear — a British automotive show on the BBC — testing and reviewing cars. It’s almost guaranteed that the broadcasting company are paying him for his expertise and online presence.
What is Marques Brownlee’s net worth?
There’s not a solid figure in relation to Brownlee’s total net worth, it varies anywhere from $4m to $12.5m depending on the source. In February 2018, he released a video that accidentally revealed his ad rate, allowing people to roughly work out his income from YouTube based on views. He was making $1.86 for every 1,000 views.
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Three years on and the MKBHD channel is only growing more popular, and his rate could well have changed over this period of time too. While people are free to estimate what he may be earning in 2021, it’s clear that he has multiple streams of income that, undoubtedly, provide him with a rather comfortable total to live on. With his podcast soon evolving to be a video show, with two dedicated YouTube channels, he’ll be earning more than ever.