Johnson had announced at the beginning of the year that he would be retiring the show sometime in 2014, but didn’t set a date to it. He said he wanted to retire the show “while it’s still getting good numbers” instead of keeping it going for a few more years and “inadvertently running it into the ground.”
The show certainly had good numbers. The clips, which lasted a few minutes and featured Ray William Johnson offering snarky commentary on viral videos, attracted millions of viewers. The Wall Street Journal reported that the shows collectively drew in 1.5 billion views, which put him on par with some cable networks.
Experts say it also turned Ray William Johnson into a millionaire, generating a reported $1 million each year from YouTube videos.
“Look at some of these major YouTube stars, [who] aggregate two, three, four million views of their content,” said David Cohen, the global digital officer of Universal McCann. “That rivals second- and third-tier cable networks. This is a microcosm of what’s going on in the overall media landscape. We’re moving from a scaled mass media to more hyper-local, niche media.”
But this week Ray, also known as RayWJ, announced his retirement date.
After 5 years and 400 something episodes, it finally comes to an end. pic.twitter.com/6aLrXqpoSn
— Ray William Johnson (@RayWJ) March 9, 2014
The final edition of Equals 3 titled “Thank You For Everything” was uploaded on Wednesday night. In the nearly 14-minute clip, Ray said he felt like he has outgrown internet comedy, saying: “I’ve written more jokes for viral videos than any one human should ever have to write.”
“I’m the kind of person who has to keep moving forward and has to keep being creative or I get depressed,” he said, adding, “This show isn’t fulfilling me creatively anymore.”
Ray William Johnson went on to say that he has big plans for the future, but Equals 3 won’t be one of them anymore.