Sheffield YouTube star explains why he could retire - aged just 21

A YouTube star from Sheffield who has 6.9 million subscribers across his three video channels says he is making more than 20 times the amount he needs to earn a living.

Monday, 5th September 2016, 11:58 am
Updated Monday, 5th September 2016, 1:31 pm
Vikram Barn, more widely known as Vikkstar123, at his cousin's wedding reception at the end of August

Vikram Barn, 21, is more widely known as Vikkstar123, the YouTube sensation made famous by filming himself playing video games.

From Call of Duty to, most recently, Pokémon Go, Vikram first started filming himself playing and commentating video games in Year 7 at Silverdale School in Bents Green, Sheffield.

Vikram plays Pokemon Go in Greenwich Park, London

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His videos have had more than 1.5 billion views in total.

"There are similar parallels if you think of sport. People will watch a live football match with commentary and they'll watch Match of the Day for highlights," Vikram said.

He began by sharing clips with friends but the videos quickly became popular with other YouTubers who had never met him.

He has uploaded at least one video a day since 19 December 2010.

Vikram (left) takes a selfie from the audiobook recording studio with (from right) grime music artist JME, and fellow Sidemen members JJ and Tobi

Vikram said: "I get to do so many cool things and get so many cool opportunities that come from doing YouTube at a high level that it becomes extremely addictive."

When he finished sixth form at Silverdale, Vikram had an offer to study Natural Sciences at University College London but deferred it for 12 months.

Four months into the year he decided he didn't have time for university because he wanted to concentrate on making videos.

In his first year of making videos full time, Vikram said his number of subscribers "exploded" from 400,000 to more than 1.2 million.

Vikkstar123 has started creating videos of himself playing Pokemon Go

YouTube's standard rate to its top content creators is around $2-3 per thousand views, which is an average of all of the adverts viewed on one channel.

Through Google AdSense YouTube places adverts at the start of all videos when a YouTuber chooses to monetize their channel. They can earn a small amount of money per ad click as well as per view.

Each of Vikram's videos normally get between 180,000 to 1.3 million views.

Vikram did not want to disclose his exact earnings, but said: "I make three, four, five videos a day. If I wanted to I could earn a living by making one video a week.

Vikram plays Pokemon Go in Greenwich Park, London

"I'm maximising what I'm doing - growing that audience and growing that viewership.

"There really is no reason for me to stop doing it."

As well as his individual total of 6.9 million subscribers Vikram is part of a group of seven YouTubers called the Sidemen. Their joint channel has 1.7 million subscribers.

The Sidemen also have their own merchandise and five of the group of seven are launching a new event for gamers and music lovers called Upload.

Vikram has started making more personal video blogs where he and the rest of the Sidemen film themselves in real life.

The most successful of these "personality-driven" videos currently has almost 14 million views.

Vikram (left) takes a selfie from the audiobook recording studio with (from right) grime music artist JME, and fellow Sidemen members JJ and Tobi

In the six-minute video, Vikram and the other Sidemen talk about their upcoming charity football match against another team of YouTubers in Southampton.

They then play football with a six-foot inflatable ball which pops towards the end of the video.

Vikram said: "I think me and all my friends have been successful because we started so early. We started when there weren't many people creating content and we've done a lot of trial and error over the last five or six years. It's taken a lot of time to work out what really works."

Vikram will continue making videos for as long as he can, but will also make sure he keeps "switching things up" so that he doesn't get bored.

Another new direction Vikram and the Sidemen have taken is writing a book and recording an audiobook about each of their YouTube journeys to success.

Sidemen XIX: The Book, will be released in hardback for £9.49 on 18 October. The unabridged audio version of the book can be pre-ordered for £14.99.

Fellow YouTuber Dan TDM has 12 million subscribers and will do two shows at Sheffield City Hall on 17 September at 1.30pm and 7pm. Both shows are almost sold out.

Vikkstar123 has started creating videos of himself playing Pokemon Go