Reed's initial interest developed into a hobby and he began posting video game tutorials on his own YouTube channel, titled "Trickionary." After starting his YouTube channel in March 2011, subscribers to the channel quickly grew to 35,000. Currently, Reed receives more than 30 messages each day asking him to create new gaming tutorials. To keep up with subscriber demand and keep his followers active, Reed spends 16 hours per week gaming.
Video entertainment network, Machinima, caught wind of the popularity of Reed's YouTube channel when Reed approached the company after receiving his one millionth view. From there, the advertising deal was struck. Machinima's ads run on the Trickionary channel, allowing Reed to make a specific amount of money for every 1000 views. Although the amount Reed makes remains private between he and Machinima, estimates have been made at anywhere between $5885 and $62,448 per year solely on ad-view revenue.
The ability of Reed to earn an income based on advertisements placed on his YouTube channel is not a new phenomenon. Videos that have quickly gone viral are also often approached by companies who strike revenue deals based upon ad placement. Because viral videos tend to peak in popularity, and then fade into the distance, ad placement revenue is something that has to occur quickly and right as the popularity is about to peak.
Reed knows that, similar to some popular viral videos, there's a shelf life for his Trickionary channel and he anticipates his "tricks" channel will run its course in about a year due to the fact that trick shots become depleted after they've been discovered. But, for now, Reed continues to capitalize on the popularity of the game and his gaming tutorial video channel.
When the latest version of Call of Duty, Modern Warfare 3, was released on November 8th, the Canadian teen stayed home from school the day after to play the game and create new tutorials. Although Reed's mom, Taunia Phillips was initially skeptical about the money-making venture and concerned about the slight drop in Reed's grades due to the hours invested into creating his tutorials, she knows that her son takes education more seriously than his current gaming gig. Rather than spending the money as he earns it, Reed is considering investing his profits or saving them for higher education. The teen plans to attend university to study teaching or business.
In the meantime, the 16-year-old continues to invest time each week on his Xbox, where his enjoyment of the game has wound up benefitting more than just the subscribers who await his tutorials.