Matt Santoro has more YouTube subscribers than Barack Obama.
If you don’t know his name, you aren’t among the 2.75 million who gets his weekly videos listing fun facts, like the 10 most fascinating archaeological digs or inventors who were killed by their own inventions.
The 29-year-old St. Catharines resident is one of the attractions at this weekend’s second annual Buffer Festival, a three-day event celebrating YouTube content in theatres across Toronto. It hosts theatrical screenings, video premieres and red carpet events.
Thousands of fans are expected to see YouTube sensations in person, including Canada’s cover song sweetheart Daniela Andrade, Toronto-based science geeks Mitchell Moffit and Gregory Brown of the popular ASAP Science, and Lewis Hilsenteger, the tech and gaming authority behind Unbox Therapy.
The Star caught up with Santoro on his way to the event.
How did your YouTube career start?
At the end of 2009 I discovered various YouTubers and realized there’s a whole community out there. These are just normal people making amazing videos from what appears to be their apartment. I came to the conclusion that I should start doing it.
Where do you get your ideas?
I have a folder in my Chrome browser of list websites and I search through until I find an article title that catches my eye. Then I scour the internet and find all my information. I verify everything through at least three websites.
Is this your full-time job?
Yes, it’s my livelihood. I used to be in business, specifically an accountant, and then YouTube took off for me and eventually started paying the bills and so I left my 9-5 job.
How do you make a living from YouTube?
Ad revenue. YouTube takes 45 per cent of the ad revenue and we get 55 per cent.
So you’re making a good enough living that way?
People don’t realize you can make a very good living off of YouTube. You can make the same amount as most people make at a full-time job if you get around two million views a month. Once you reach that point, you can rival what you could make at a full-time job.
Care to share your annual salary?
I can tell you that I’m living comfortably off of YouTube.
Do you expect many fans at Buffer Festival?
Last year I had 30,000 subscribers (and) five or six people came to my booth. This year I’m excited to see the outcome.
What do you do when you are not Youtubing?
There’s no such thing. If I’m not writing a video, I’m answering tweets or Facebook messages or emails.
You’re not married with a family then?
I’m a single bachelor. I’m very available.
Do you see this continuing on?
YouTube isn’t going away. It’s not even 10 years old yet. I see it getting bigger, ranging from high-quality content, people producing TV shows and short films to full feature films, as well as the average joe just wanting to upload videos, blog videos to tell everyone about their life. That’s the beauty of YouTube.