Shane Dawson and Jake Paul: How a YouTube series 'could be making millions'

By Daniel Rosney
Newsbeat reporter

Image source, Getty Images

One of the world's most subscribed-to vloggers, Shane Dawson, is halfway through an eight-part series about fellow YouTuber Jake Paul.

The videos are around 40 minutes in length, have stacked up more than 50m views and, probably unsurprising to most, are making a lot of money.

An industry expert told Radio 1 Newsbeat that Shane could be making around $2m (£1.5m) a month.

Jake is the brother of Logan Paul, who earlier this year controversially filmed a man appearing to have taken his life.

The premise of Shane's series is to get to know one of the platform's most notorious stars.

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Jake has also been involved in his fair share of controversial incidents.

He's been accused of bullying in the past, exploiting other YouTubers and creating content inappropriate for his young audience.

In the opening episode, Shane asks: "Could he be doing this series with me just to get views?"

But the reason Shane has made this series on his channel - which has around 18m subscribers - is because there's big business in getting ad sponsors at the beginning of his vlogs.

Shane "could definitely be paid anything from $85,000 to $170,000 for one video," explains Jessica Brennan, an influencer marketing manager for agency The Specialist Works.

"The fact he's probably making around 15 videos a month means he's earning around $2m a month."

That's a claim that Shane denied when he saw our story.

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Jessica says this series is particularly attractive to brands because it's gone viral, and has been sitting in the top trending videos on YouTube all week.

"It means that these types of people are merging into a celebrity, more than just a YouTuber now because of how well they are known outside of their platform".

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During one of the earlier episodes Shane asks, "Is Jake Paul a sociopath?" - a comment which resulted in a lot of criticism for making a reckless claim without substance.

Shane apologised on Snapchat, and now he's tweeted that he's taking a break from social media until the series is complete.

The 'chain reaction' effect

Lesser-known YouTubers are uploading reaction videos to the series, something Jessica would advise channels to do.

"It's a great tactic to jump on the bandwagon, it means you get more views suddenly because people are searching for this subject," Jessica tells Newsbeat.

It essentially creates a chain reaction, allowing other vloggers to capitalise on the original series.

Fraser Macdonald, known as iNabber on the platform, appears in episode one and says it was a "career-changing opportunity".

"I've gained around 70,000 subscribers in a few days," he tells Newsbeat. "It means the money's going to go up."

Media caption, How Logan and Jake Paul became social media superstars

Jake posted on his own channel that he's had no influence on the production of the series.

Recently, vlogger Joe Sugg told Newsbeat he's hoping his appearance on Strictly Come Dancing will allow social media stars to transition to mainstream media.

But that might not be a priority for Shane. If one of his shows was on traditional TV, or even newer services like Netflix, he would have to split the money with the platform or TV channel.

By creating a series like this, he gets to keep all the profits.

Jessica says that could set a trend, with other vloggers "evolving" their channels to replicate what Shane is doing.

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