Interview with YouTuber Mathijs Stals

Maybe you know him from the YouTube-account the Bankzitters or his own channel HeezeRules NL: YouTuber Mathijs Stals. The 22 year old FIFA-YouTuber is currently studying at Tilburg University. He did his Bachelors in Global Law and this year he’s studying for a Masters degree in Law and Technology. With over 110.000 subscribers, he can be called a YouTube phenomenon. He tells us about his experience in the world of YouTube and gives some insight into the mysterious financial part.

How did your career as a YouTuber start?

When I was 14 years old, I had a bet with my dad: if I would get a B+ for my math exam, my dad would give me a recorder. Eventually I got an A- and that meant the beginning of making videos. In the beginning I only had around 50 views per video, but at that age I wasn’t doing it for the money nor the fame. My purpose of making videos is to help people, and I still feel that way. Money is just a nice extra.

How did your channel grow since the beginning?

It’s a bit like the snowball-effect: the growth keeps becoming greater. Views quickly went from 100 views to a 1000 views. I was lucky because I started in the booming phase of YouTube in the Netherlands. In the area of gaming it went crazy in 2014. At the beginning there were only 2 or 3 other FIFA-YouTubers but now there are 7 big FIFA-YouTubers and a few smaller ones. There have been a lot of spikes in growth. In 2017 my account went from 20.000 subscribers to 100.000 subscribers. Because of my Exchange I did not do much with YouTube but currently my account is growing to 120.000 subscribers.

“It has become a bit of a concept: you can name the Bankzitters without even mentioning the people who belong to it.”

What are the Bankzitters and what is the impact from this channel on your channel?

Together with seven FIFA-YouTubers from the Netherlands we started Bankzitters. Every week, we post a video which are not all focused on football. Because of Bankzitters, my own channel has grown enormously. Without the Bankzitters we individually wouldn’t be where we are today. We’re continuously filming together and seen in shots. It has become a bit of a concept: you can name the Bankzitters without even mentioning the people who belong to it.

How does your average working week look like?

Usually I make 5 to 7 videos per week, whereas one video takes around three hours to make. Besides that, you have to keep your other Social Media accounts (Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat) up to date. You also have to generate ideas for new videos you want to make which takes up quite some time. My week consists mainly of coming up with ideas, executing them, writing scripts and filming it until it becomes something nice. You can compare it with a fulltime job. I’m not necessarily working 40 hours a week but you have to keep being relevant and that causes lots of stress as well. You can’t really work in advance, so you can’t just take a few weeks off. Of course, I’m also studying at the moment, but this can be combined quite well. I also worked at a law firm for half a year for 20 hours per week. However, combining working at a law firm, Youtube, University and still maintaining social life isn’t doable.

What can you tell us about the financial picture of YouTubers?

With Youtube you often work with MCN (Multi-Channel Networks for YouTube content creators). They arrange everything, from copyright infringement to payment. The payment of YouTube comes from advertisements that Google puts next to a video. MCN receives the money from the ads and pays a certain percentage, depending on the number of views of that month. If there are more advertisements, you receive a higher percentage. This is the reason why I make more money in December compared to other months. During the December month with Saint Nicholas and Christmas, companies want to sell more, so they advertise more as well. Moreover, if you make videos above 10 minutes, you can put an ad in your video that will result in more money. Youtube has a certain algorithm that prefers videos of a longer duration because that means people will watch for a longer time and Google can earn more money on advertisements.

“Through the years this has become a lot more lucrative. At the moment you get around 2 to 3 times more as much as you would get a few years ago.”

Per thousand views you get a certain amount that varies from 2 to 10 dollars but this excludes tax. Through the years this has become a lot more lucrative. At the moment you get around 2 to 3 times more as much as you would get a few years ago. I used to get a few hundred euros for two videos with half a million views. Currently I would earn more because more businesses focus on the power of Social Media marketing. With 500.000 views a month you can compare it to a parttime starter job at University level, so 1.000 to 1.200 euros.

Do you also have sponsors because of your channel?

You can connect with sponsors but I’m not a really big fan of that. However, it is a bit of thing around YouTubers. I do get a large part of my salary from campaigns. For instance, I worked alongside the KNVB (Royal Dutch Football Association) and the Albert Heijn. Setting up a sponsor is possible through MCN but it becomes more of a trend that the sponsor goes directly to the content creator himself.

How does your YouTube future look like?

I will definitely continue working on my own channel and with Bankzitters the focus is on the making of a certain concept. Soon we will go on holiday together with cameramen to make our own realityshow. We even rented a villa in the style of Ex on the Beach. What we’re going to do exactly is still secret. What I can say is that we’re definitely going big.

What are your goals for the future?

I would like to work in the ICT sector of the law. With Bankzitters we think it’s important to put your personal development first. All the members of Bankzitters either study applied sciences or study at University.

What would like to add yourself?

As a YouTuber, you have lots of responsibilities. The youth of today is very sensitive to addiction, so I think it’s important to show people that you need to do the things that you want to do. I always try to maintain a good reputation. I won’t ever be on a photo with a cigarette nor with drugs or when drunk. You have to be a model citizen for your viewers and you shouldn’t forget that people look up to you.

Do you have any tips for people who want to become a Youtuber?

Start networking. That’s the most important thing. You also have to invest in good equipment. The three most important things are: good preparation, be consequent with the number of videos and start networking.