Every June, more than 35,000 visitors, most of them teens and twentysomethings, descend upon the Anaheim Convention Center for Vidcon, the annual convention for people who make online videos. But in this wild and woolly world of YouTube creators, a new type of star is slowly emerging: the 50+ online video star.
True, the growth in the ranks of YouTube channel creators over 50 is more of a trickle than a flood—especially when you count those with a substantial number of subscribers. “When I go to YouTube Space Toronto [conferences] for meet and greets or other creator sessions, I’m the oldest person in the room by about 20 years,” says 67-year-old creator Maarten Heilbron.
But, as Heilbron notes, “The gap is narrowing as more creators in or closer to my age bracket seem to be participating.”
The average age of YouTube viewers is rising too, with the number of those over 55 tripling between 2015 and 2016.
For many older YouTubers, the transition to video storytelling is accidental, the outgrowth of a passion, hobby, or side hustle. But their channels—everything from travelogues to fitness tutorials, tech explainers to cooking shows—provide a savvy and engaging way to get their businesses in front of a larger audience and potentially bring in a little money from brand sponsorships or affiliate marketing relationships.
In the story that follows, you’ll meet seven successful YouTube creators over 50, see why their videos have attracted millions of views, learn a bit about what it takes to stand out in this space—and maybe get inspired to join their ranks.