YesThe notoriety of ouTube tends to be counted in hours, days, weeks or, maybe, months if everything is going really well. It doesn’t often extend much further – into something demarcated by years. So the nine-year duration of comedians Rhett and Link, whose daily show “Good Mythical Morning” has 17.1 million subscribers, is surprising even to them.
“It was all so unknown when we first started,” says Rhett, 43. “We were very focused on, ‘How can we continue to do this and provide for our families? “”
“If you had told us about our current situation 15 years ago, I would have been delighted and extremely relieved,” says Link, also 43. “It was scary. Would we have liked more support? Absolutely. Would we have liked to have someone we could imitate? Absolutely.”
Rhett, alias. Rhett James McLaughlin and Link, aka Charles Lincoln Neal III, have already established themselves as the great old men of YouTube and as two of the platform’s most lucrative stars, staples of Forbes“List of the highest paid YouTubers. (They’ve done this every year since we started ranking in 2015, most recently arriving at No.4 with $ 20 million last year.) Over the past few years, they’ve been posting more and more. a desire to see bigger than their variety show. , and in 2019, they dipped their toes into what remains largely unexplored territory for YouTubers: mergers and acquisitions. Their Mythical Entertainment, the all-encompassing parent company, spent $ 10 million to acquire SMOSH, a comedy, improv and game YouTube channel with 25.1 million subscribers today.
For their next act, they’d like to be investors too, and they’ve set aside $ 5 million to start their Mythical Accelerator fund, using the money to acquire stakes in the businesses of other social media stars. “We’ve always been interested in building outside of ourselves, building big businesses, hopefully, something that looks like a studio with other people who’ve managed to build a fandom on the internet,” explains Brian Flanagan. He’s the COO of Mythical Entertainment, a position he previously held at Demarest Media, which produced things like the Oscar nominee in 2016. Hacksaw ridge. “We think we can invest and then deploy a lot of expertise, advice and growth direction to people,” he says. “They have developed a major fandom, and their fandom is loyal, very engaged and growing.”
With help from Flanagan, Rhett and Link aim to look like the venture capitalists who rushed to pump money into the influencer industry – the creator economy if you want to call it that – for a good year, a group already including names. like Andreessen Horowitz and Seven Seven Six, the new venture capital fund of Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian. The new attention to space is a distinct change from several years ago, when Instagram and Facebook seemed to dominate social media and influencers were seen as Hollywood’s insignificant cousins.
Rhett and Link have already made their first investment: in young YouTuber Jarvis Johnson, taking a minority stake in the company he founded as an umbrella of his various sources of income. Additional terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Johnson, 29, is exemplary of the type of stars Rhett and Link would link to finance. First of all, like Rhett and Link, Johnson is suited to advertisers. (It matters a lot: almost all social media stars still earn the majority of their income from ads appearing on their videos or some other type of corporate sponsorship.) “I make comedy videos,” says- he. “Well I hope they are the comedy videos. ”He’s funny enough to get 1.6 million subscribers from his commentary on Internet culture and other YouTubers, a discussion of ‘what other people are doing and what others are talking about,’ he says His most popular video, which has nearly 10 million views, reviews a YouTube channel called “Five Minute Crafts,” a series Johnson calls “ridiculous click-bait” peddlers.
“Anytime I see a low-stakes opportunity to goof on something, but also ask, ‘Hey, why is this there? “—That’s the space I’m in,” Johnson said.
Before seeking his own fame on the internet, Johnson worked as a software engineer at Yelp and Patreon, which offers creators a subscription model that is easy to use and earn more revenue. It was at Patreon that he first met Mythical Entertainment’s Flanagan in a reunion, a fortuitous moment: Johnson was not supposed to be there and had to ask a friend to go with him. (“I was kind of like, sneaking into meetings that I wasn’t supposed to be in,” he admits.) By this time, Johnson was already wondering if he should start his own channel. YouTube, and he and Flanagan stayed in touch. (“What I really appreciate about his work is that he has a very ironic sense of humor about what’s both good and bad about Internet entertainment,” Flanagan says.) The discussions on the agreement started at the end of last year and was conducted mainly by phone and video chat; Johnson has yet to meet Rhett in person and has only met Link once face to face.
Beyond his taunts, Rhett and Link also appreciated Johnson’s interest in extending his brand. In addition to his main YouTube page, he added five other YouTube channels, a Twitch feed, and a podcast that he co-hosts with a friend, Sad boys. He mainly plans to use Mythical’s money to hire a handful of staff to help with production. “For me, the goal with all of this is to create a healthy and sustainable business for myself and for my employees,” Johnson says.
Rhett and Link certainly made their own relationship last. The couple met in first grade at Buies Creek Elementary School in Harnett County, North Carolina, and then lived together in the state of North Carolina, where Rhett studied civil engineering and engineering. Industrial Link. For a while, Rhett worked at Black & Veatch, an engineering company in Kansas City, while Link went to IBM. They got bored and decided to play on YouTube in 2012, securing a spot in previous years with an enthusiasm for pieces like their food challenges – one day a fish bait snack, a game to guess if a article came from Whole Foods or one dollar store on another. They have since expanded to several podcasts; a fan club by subscription (starting at $ 5 per month); and a product line including Mythical brand beard oil, aprons and combs, among many other items.
The pair say they will use the Mythical Accerlator fund to invest in influencers based on any social platform, not just YouTubers. But they want potential recipients to post reach across multiple sites, including, hopefully, YouTube, which still offers creators the best way to make money through ad revenue sharing deals. They always think about the importance of a creator’s audience and income to deserve an investment.
“We want to find other designers who want to cross the same bridges we’ve crossed, answer the same questions as we do, build teams around them and build a brand,” says Rhett.