As of March 10, 2014, Business Insider estimated that the top earning YouTube contributor in the world made between $825,000 and $8.47 million annually. This is based on recorded video traffic and estimated pay rates for various forms of advertising used on YouTube videos.
Anyone can contribute to YouTube and run ads on content using Google AdSense. YouTube contributors who reach a minimum threshold of viewers or subscribers can apply for YouTube's partnership program. Partners receive 55 percent of the ad revenue generated by their content, which can vary between $5 and $7 for every thousand ads shown.
Different types of ads generate different levels of revenue per click, which can greatly affect the final income totals for any given YouTube partner. There is the potential to make a significant income and to make a career out of producing and posting videos on YouTube. Many people do it, but it requires a solid understanding of the audience being sought and a good handle on the basics of video production. Not every YouTube partner posts six-figure incomes, and many don't see any income at all. The potential to make significant income only exists for those willing to devote the time to regular updates and unique content.