[UPDATED] YouTube News: Ray William Johnson Leaves Maker Studios (RWJ Final Response)

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We’ll update this post as this story develops. Until then follow us on Twitter & Facebook for live upates!

[UPDATE 11/24/2012 3:34 p.m. PT] Ray took to Facebook earlier today to make it abundantly clear that things are over between him and Maker Studios:

[UPDATE 10/20/2012 1:33 p.m. PT] A very reputable source has told NMR that Ray William Johnson only makes up of 2% of Maker views, so they don’t predict that his departure will greatly affect Maker Studios’ numbers. Other sources including Variety and WillVideoForFood have also reported this.

[UPDATE 10/19/2012 11:19 a.m. PT] YouTube analytics company ChannelMeter has provided us with information regarding Ray William Johnson’s performance for the last 3 months:

  • In the last three months RWJ’s growth in views has slowed 29.06 percent. (64,967,659 views in July vs. 41,543,306 views in September)
  • In the last three months his pace of adding new subscribers has dropped 19.39 percent (180,471 new subs. in July vs. 127,611 new subs. in September)

You can download ChannelMeter’s detailed spreadsheet on RWJ’s performance along with the Top top 100 YouTube publishers HERE.

**Please note that although this data shows his declining performance, he is still the most popular YouTuber by absolute view count according to ChannelMeter.

[UPDATE 2:10 p.m. PT] Ray William Johnson has responded to Maker’s statement to NMR:

 

[UPDATE 1:05 p.m. PT] Maker Studio has replied back to NMR with this official statement: 

“Ray is still a part of the Maker Network.  With the recent decline in viewership on =3 it made sense for him to go back to producing the show himself. Maker providing a full production staff of 12 people including a team of writers no longer was a viable option for =3. Maker fully supports Ray’s decision to go back to producing the show on his own for the time being and we wish him continued success. We will continue to support Ray through this transition.”

Before beginning his “Equals Three” critique show Tuesday, Ray William Johnson made a stunning announcement about his YouTube career.

Talking in front of his iconic background full of comic book panels, he said: “I’m filming this episode in my apartment. Now in the near future, ‘Equals Three’ will no longer be part of the Maker Studios network, so I’m going to film here for a while. Even if I don’t have the proper equipment at home, even if I have to film butt-ass naked in a back alley, you guys are going to get an episode, goddamnit!”

This announcement is a milestone for Johnson, who began his vlogging career in 2007 right after graduating from Columbia University, according to a Forbes interview with the YouTube star. In 2009, he began the RayWilliamJohnson channel in its current form and uploaded his first “Equals Three” vlog, which skewers and critiques the latest YouTube viral videos. Since then, the RayWilliamJohnson has nearly 6 million subscribers and over 2 billion total video views. The RayWilliamJohnson channel is not only the most subscribed channel on YouTube but was one of Maker Studios’ biggest assets.

While Maker Studios may take a hit from Johnson’s departure, this could possibly open up bigger opportunities for the YouTube comedian. This already rang true in June when Johnson signed with the world’s largest talent agency, William Morris Endeavor.

So will he go on doing the same thing he’s done for five years now, or might he begin signing profitable talent to build his own YouTube studio empire? Check out his video below, and stay tuned for more updates: