Facebook Live: Where a YouTube star can earn like an Olympic icon

YouTuber PewDiePie made almost as much as "Guardians of the Galaxy" star Chris Pratt in 2015

YouTuber PewDiePie made almost as much as "Guardians of the Galaxy" star Chris Pratt in 2015

As Facebook turns to online video creators to bolster live-streaming efforts, the lines between mainstream celebrity and internet fame blur.

A clamoring mob is a clamoring mob, regardless of who's at the center of the throng.

That's the lesson companies like Facebook are learning about internet celebrities. Is Swedish YouTube personality PewDiePie on par with Brad Pitt? In a sense, it doesn't matter.

In June, The Wall Street Journal found that Facebook is paying celebrities and media outlets to use its new live-streaming service, Facebook Live. Among those celebrities are recognizable names -- names that come from television and sports, like comedian and actor Kevin Hart or Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps.

On Tuesday, a new list of names emerged out of a WSJ report. Depending on how entrenched you are in the internet, you may or may not recognize them. There's YouTube comedian Ray William Johnson, who could get up to $224,000 in the span of five and a half months. That's the same amount that Phelps was reportedly paid.

Vine star Jon Paul Piques can earn as much as $119,000.

"We wanted to invite a broad set of partners so we could get feedback from a variety of different organizations about what works and what doesn't," said Facebook's VP of global operations and media partnerships Justin Osofsky in a statement.

Facebook's pursuit of the stars of the very small screen underscores the growing influence of a generation of celebrities that mainstream audiences are clueless about. The thing about fame is it can't exist at all until enough people agree that you have it. While some older folks might scratch their heads about who or what Smosh is, the sketch comedy duo probably has enough of a following that they don't need to worry about it.

[By: Erin Carson] [CNET] [Read More]