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How online video sensation Shonduras reinvents himself regularly to stay successful

Known as “Shonduras,” Shaun McBride is a pioneer of new online content. After making a career out of stunts like refrigerator-skiing — drawing millions of eyeballs from the coveted under-35 demographic — he’s also learned how to adapt to new platforms and invest in evolving business models.

Shonduras gained fame by posting goofy videos, first on the social media app Snapchat. Antics from McBride’s daily life proved so popular they earned him 1.5 million followers. Brands like Disney, Red Bull and Taco Bell came calling.

“My social media can reach as many people as the Ellen Show in a week,” McBride told PBS NewsHour economics correspondent Paul Solman at the DreamHack gaming convention in Austin, Texas. “If a brand wants to tell their story or share their product, I can do the same thing as them as making a commercial with MTV.”

After his Snapchat success, Shonduras decided he would start a YouTube vlog where advertisers and sponsors pay more.

But the world of online video can be touch and go. So when Shonduras noticed his viewer count declining, he placed his latest bet online bet on eSports — an industry set to gross nearly $1 billion by the end of 2018. At age 31, he’s already made enough money online to create a gaming team and pay his players, thus extending his digital domain.