Olajide William “JJ” Olatunji, better known as KSI, is one of the most popular YouTubers. If you’re unfamiliar with his work, KSI first joined YouTube in 2008 and became a rising star thanks to his FIFA gameplay commentary videos. He’s since become an amateur boxer, rapper, actor, and published author, penning his own book called I Am A Tool: How to Be a YouTube Kingpin and Dominate the Internet.
It’s no secret that KSI is one of the wealthiest YouTubers on the site, but just how much does he make? We crunched the numbers to find out.
We’ll admit that it’s hard to tell just how much KSI makes in 2018. KSI has his hands dipped into a little bit of everything as a multimedia crossover star, and things like royalties, sponsorships, contracts, music deals, and advertisements outside of YouTube may play a role in his total income. Some of that information just isn’t available to the public.
We do know that KSI is a multi-millionaire. In 2015, Forbes put together a list of YouTube’s top 10 earning content creators after consulting with lawyers, agents, and the stars themselves. At the time, Forbes said KSI earned $4.5 million in pretax income in 2015, making him tied for the fifth most-paid star on the platform (YouTubers Rhett McLaughlin and Charles Lincoln, better known as “Rhett & Link,” were tied with KSI for the spot).
It’s unlikely that KSI’s income has dropped since then thanks to his music career, channel, and published book.
We do have some tools to figure how much KSI makes from YouTube alone. Using Social Blade’s estimated YouTube money calculator and factoring for a cost per mille (or CPM) in a range between $0.25 to $4, KSI makes somewhere between $852 to $13.64k per day thanks to ads. This translates to a yearly income of somewhere between $306.9k and $4.91 million. That makes sense, as the higher end of the scale fits in neatly with KSI’s $4.5 million pretax income from 2015.
Then there’s KSI’s additional YouTube channel, KSIOlajidebtHD. Calculating for a range between $0.25 and $4 for his second channel’s CPM, KSI makes an estimated additional $13.68k to $218.88k per year from this channel alone, bumping up KSI’s total estimated YouTube earnings to somewhere between $320.58k to $5.13 million.
Understandably, the difference between $320.58k and $5.13 million is enormous, but calculating CPM on YouTube is notoriously difficult. CPM is dictated by viewers’ interactions with ads, how much an advertising company is willing to pay, whether a video goes viral or not, video length, YouTube’s monetization payout rate, and whether advertisers are willing to shell out to reach a certain consumer base, as digital marketing specialist Amy Baker writes for The Startup. Unless KSI directly admits how much he makes, we can estimate.
For instance, Hank Green once argued that the average CPM on YouTube is $2, and using that rate, that would mean KSI makes $2,564,640 per year from both of his YouTube channels’ ads alone. But that $2 rate was in 2015, and it seems likely that KSI’s CPM fluctuates beyond a stable $2. It could be more, it could be less.
It seems KSI takes Social Blade’s calculations seriously enough to use them and show them off. In a November 2016 YouTube video saying that he was “done with music,” KSI shared his Social Blade widget, which revealed that he made an estimated monthly earning of $18.4k to $294.7k during 2016 on his channel. At the very least, KSI isn’t afraid to use the site and have its statistics displayed on his channel, even if he refuses to broadcast a specific number tied to his channel.
So to wrap things up, here’s what we know about KSI’s income based on his two YouTube channels. We’ve listed three different rates, including Hank Green’s $2 average for CPM.
|CPM Rate||Estimated Yearly Earnings|
|Hank Green’s $2 average||$2,564,640|
By comparison, Fortnite legend Tyler “Ninja” Blevins has made over $600k per month on Twitch, with the star clocking in over $660.8k in May and over $518.6k in April. Even though KSI’s numbers seem impressive, there’s some strong competition from Twitch streamers like Ninja, especially if KSI’s CPM is on the lower end of Social Blade’s estimates.