YouTube star Rosanna "Ro" Pansino has transformed her love of baking and what she calls "corny dad jokes" into a multimillion-dollar business. With more than eight-and-a-half million YouTube subscribers and over two billion cumulative video views, Pansino's baking channel, which teaches viewers how to create everything from Batman cupcakes to Pac-man Popsicles, has launched the 32-year-old into the upper echelon of YouTube stardom — and it's brought in some serious dough.
In 2016, Pansino was among the top ten highest paid YouTube creators, earning an estimated $6 million dollars, according to Forbes. Despite her financial success, Pansino says money has never been a driving force behind her content creation.
"From the very beginning, right when I started making videos on YouTube, money wasn't even a factor," Pansino tells CNBC while appearing at the annual VidCon convention in Anaheim. "I was making videos for over a year and a half before I found out it was even possible to make a career out of making content online."
Along with thousands of others, Pansino has indeed made a career out of creating online content. But earlier this year, many creators saw a drop in revenue after a number of big-name brands boycotted YouTube, following an exposé which revealed that some ads were placed next to offensive content. Since that time, many advertisers have returned to the platform, but according to Tony Chen, who runs technology and data platform Channel Factory, "since three months ago, we've seen creators decrease revenue as much as 80-to-90 percent. So it's a significant piece of their revenue."