Boom Industry

YouTube celebrity Nikolay Sobolev, 23, says Russian blogging has reached its golden age. “We are at the peak of our popularity,” he told The Moscow Times, “and our resonance is likely to keep growing.”

Sobolev, who has 3 million subscribers on YouTube, began his blogging career filming street pranks as a student. He moved on to producing short videos about “online trends.” Today, Sobolev spends all his time looking for potential content.

And it’s a lucrative business. Companies approach bloggers to promote their products. He estimates that Russian bloggers can make over a million rubles (roughly $17,500) a month: “Anyone with a over a million followers and a brain can make really good money,” says Sobolev. Employing several secretaries, the video blogger enjoys a more comfortable lifestyle than most 23-year-olds.

Another internet sensation to spring from nowhere is Yuri Dud, the editor of Russia’s most popular sports magazine. Dud launched a YouTube channel in February where he interviews sports celebrities. Within four months, his channel gained over 800 thousand subscribers and 10 million views. There are now over 200 Russian YouTube accounts with over a million followers, a milestone considered to be almost unachievable two years ago. “If it continues, we will definitely overtake TV ratings,” says Sobolev.