WSJ Crunches Ray William Johnson’s YouTube Numbers

The well-worn journalism template of chronicling the rocket-rise to stardom of a YouTube performer gets another workout today via the Wall Street Journal. In this case, the piece is about Ray William Johnson. Since relocating to Los Angeles, the affable comic has racked up millions of faithful twice-weekly viewers and become the most popular attraction on Google’s online channel.

There’s a lot of Tosh.0 in RayWJ’s videos, without the troublesome Comedy Central overhead. But how much the 30-year-old (pictured) makes from these broadcasts remains unclear. The Journal quotes two people “familiar with the situation” to suggest RayWJ earns about $1 million a year. But via email to reporter Emily Glazer, the Oklahoma native hinted at a more modest balance sheet:

Johnson disputed the idea that he is making a lot of money. “I run advertisements and sell T-shirts to cover overhead costs and pay the few people who help me out behind the scenes,” he says. “Anything left over is spent on production costs, animation costs, etc.”

FishbowlLA tends to believe RW on this one. We’ve read many profiles of YouTube stars, and there is usually a statement by the owner of the channel about the surprisingly low income flow generated by the service’s ad-revenue share.

To follow this LA star on Twitter, go to @RayWJ.