The Guardian recaps the (now widely-acknowledged) explosion of popular YouTube celebrities. In particular, they cite video tracking firm Tubular Labs, which notes that
In the last month alone, 29 million new videos have been uploaded to YouTube by 7 million creators, generating 50 billion views. It's from this mass of vlogging, gaming, pranks, cover versions and children's content that the new stars are emerging. Their names are often unfamiliar to older media consumers, but they have real clout with their teen and twenty something fans.
The articles goes on to argue that these stars are using their enormous online popularity to gain traction in traditional Hollywood:
Films and TV shows sit alongside book deals, games, branded cosmetics and live tours as opportunities available for the influencers emerging from YouTube, Vine, Snapchat, Instagram and other digital services.
This setup is interesting because it reflects the economics of the industry, which have yet to acknowledge how audiences are transitioning online. The US TV advertising market is $75 billion dollars. Meanwhile, YouTube as the biggest player in the online video industry earned less than $10B in advertising revenue in 2015 (everyone else pales in comparison). It logically follows that TV stars will get paid more because they're playing in a bigger market. But YouTube's ad revenues are growing 50% y/y while broadcast TV is stagnating to declining. Sometime very soon, online stars won't need to make a transition to traditional TV because the revenue dollars will have found them online. And that will be a very exciting time for independent content creators.