Whatever negative that could be ascribed to YouTube, there is no denying the fact that it has given the average person a voice and an opportunity to express themselves and showcase their talents. One group who have benefited immensely from this phenomenon are creatives, particularly comedians like Ryan Higa. No longer do they have to beg for time slots at comedy clubs in order to showcase their talents as with the help of YouTube, they can get their name into the world.
Higa has utilized this opportunity so brilliantly that he has grown to become one of the biggest channels on YouTube. The definition of how big Ryan is can be summarized by two facts. He had the most subscribed channel on YouTube for 677 consecutive days, lasting from 2009 to 2011. He was also one of the first YouTubers to reach the one-billion views threshold. All these have translated into significant financial rewards for the digital star and in 2017, Forbes named him to their list of 30 Under 30 most influential personalities in Hollywood and entertainment.
A Breakdown of Ryan Higa’s Net Worth
Ryan Higa may have risen to fame as a result of his comic chops but there is nothing funny about his bottom line. The digital star has been able to build up a fortune worth $10 million and this is as a result of several creative and business endeavors, the first of which is YouTube.
Earnings from YouTube Subscriber Count and Ads
YouTube may not account for the lion’s share of Ryan Higa’s wealth today but there is no doubt that this is where it all began. Higa began his life on YouTube in 2006 by posting lip-syncing videos. These videos were produced on VHS and the then-high schooler only took to posting them on YouTube as a means of saving them. Higa however got more than he bargained for after his videos started getting thousands of views and it spurred him to diversify his content to comic skits, parody music videos, and original songs.
This second wave of content proved to be even more popular and within a year of creating his channel, Ryan achieved 100,000 subscribers. This number has since grown to over 21 million subscribers along with over four billion views on his channel. Higa also has a second channel, HigaTV which he has dedicated to vlogs and behind the scenes videos of his productions. This channel has equally been successful with over 5 million subscribers with more than 780 million video views.
All these numbers translates into a steady stream of income for the young man. Asides the fact that it landed him endorsement deals with various brands, which we shall discuss in detail later, it has also led to huge paychecks thanks to the monetization policy of YouTube.
The video-sharing site automatically inserts ads and then goes on to share the revenue 50-50 with the YouTubers at the rate of $1.5 per 1000 views. Given this estimation, Higa averages $2,500 to $3,000 a day which accumulates to over $1 million per year in income from YouTube.
Income from his Fan App and Energy Drink Company
Ryan Higa is no longer as active on YouTube as he used to be and part of the reason is that he is focused on other pursuits including entrepreneurial ones. In April 2015, Higa launched his mobile app for android and iPhone users known as the TeeHee app. The app served as a community hub for his fan base and featured games and previously unseen footage.
It also gave fans the opportunity to submit their own content and interact live with the hosts. The app additionally came with pre-rolled ads, in-app purchases, as well as e-commerce, all of which resulted in significant income for its owner.
The TeeHee app attracted about 400k users but was unfortunately shut down by its creators, Victorious Inc., in 2017. Following this disappointing end, Higa turned his attention to other ventures and in 2019, he launched an energy drink known as Ninja Melk. Ninja Melk is a refreshing and unique energy drink which was influenced by the YouTuber’s vision and passion.
It reportedly boasts of the best in terms of quality, ingredients, and taste. There are as yet no numbers as to the Ninja Melk’s commercial appeal and revenue generated but it has the potential to do well because even if no one else patronizes it, Higa’s massive YouTube fan base will surely try it out.
Higa’s viral fame has predictably led to several brands and companies wanting to associate with him and tap into his global appeal. The Hawaiian sensation has therefore scored deals with the likes of Lenovo and Wonderful Pistachios (a brand of roasted and salted nuts). Higa’s deal with Lenovo basically saw him and his pals goofing around and discussing the features of their tablet in one of his clips.
The clip raised genuine questions and answers and helped in introducing the product to a new audience. Not all of Higa’s ads have been well-received though. Several years back, he interviewed filmmaker/actor, Milo Ventimiglia, about his new movie titled Pathology. The clip also featured the movie trailer and Higa was paid handsomely for this. His fans were however displeased with the crass commercialization and accused him of being a sell-out. He later apologized and promised to stay true to his brand.
His Strides in the Hollywood and K-Pop Industries
Asides YouTube, Higa also has a thriving career in Hollywood which has seen him star in films such as Agents of Secret Stuff, Tell Me How I Die and Ryan and Sean’s Not So Excellent Adventure. He is also a member of the K-pop band, Boys Generally Asian. Even though the group is a k-pop music parody group, they have scored some genuine hits which have gone on to chart on the K-Pop charts, including a number one song, Who’s It Gonna Be. It, therefore, means that Higa and his bandmates are selling thousands of copies of their singles and making money off it as well.
His Romance and Eventual Breakup with Arden Cho
Ryan Higa was previously one part of a beloved internet coupling; the other part being Arden Cho. For those who may not know her, Arden is an American actress, singer as well as model. She has modeled for the likes of Clinique, Alexander McQueen, and Apple. She has also dropped a couple of singles and EPs. In the movie world, Cho is most popular for portraying the recurring character of Kira on the hit TV show, Teen Wolf. Higa and Cho first got together in 2010 when they co-starred as love interests in his short film titled Agents of Secret Stuff.
They then became friends and maintained a warm relationship over the years. Things later turned romantic along the way but the couple choose to keep it to themselves. They later unveiled their relationship in March 2019 and revealed that they had been together for a long time. They also stated that they never deliberately hid the relationship but choose to downplay it in order to avoid all the drama, messiness, and unnecessary pressure that comes with YouTube couples.
That drama however caught with them after Higa posted a video stating that they had broken up in March 2020. He maintained that the breakup wasn’t messy and that it was mutual. The YouTuber also stated that he officially announced the breakup because they had previously notified the public that they were together. Shortly after Higa’s announcement, Cho took to her Instagram page and made a cryptic post which read:
“I hate you and all your lies. Make me wish that I could turn back the time. To a better day before I called you mine”. The singer-cum-actress also alluded to the fact that she was writing another sad song and many interpreted this to mean that Higa had cheated on her.
The YouTuber however posted a tweet on the 24th of March 2020 in which he maintained his innocence and stated that he never cheated on Cho throughout the duration of their relationship. We may never know the truth about what actually transpired to end the Higa-Cho love affair but what is for sure is that it is over, at least for now.