Never heard of PewDiePie? Well, he is, to put it mildly, kind of a big deal.
Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg’s YouTube channel is the most-watched on the site. When you consider that YouTube’s 100 biggest channels were viewed more than 10 billion times in August 2014, you realise just how much of an achievement that is.
The monthly figures, from online video monitor Tubefilter, show that PewDiePie’s videos were watched 449.2 million times in that month alone, while his subscriber base jumped by 1.1 million to a total of 30.4 million people. Compare that to the same month one year ago, when PewDiePie had 12.8 million subscribers, and his audience share has doubled. His viewing figures have done the same.
PewDiePie is part of a multi-channel network (MCN) on YouTube called Maker Studios. They also own the popular family Minecraft channel by gamer Stampy – the fourth most popular, with 217.9 million views – and sixth place The Diamond Minecart (190.6 million) and ninth place Vegetta777 (163 million). Maker Studios is so successful that Disney has just bought it for a deal worth almost $1 billion.
But now, Kjellberg has revealed that he is planning to start his own network of YouTube channels.
Speaking to Swedish magazine Icon, who have published a translated excerpt from their chat online, he admitted that his contract with Maker Studios is up for renewal in December – and that he may not sign it.
“The fact that Disney bought Maker Studios doesn’t really change anything for me. If I ask for help, they reply, but that’s all the contact we have,” he said of their relationship. “We’ll see what happens.”
When asked about his own network, which he hopes to start with friends, he replied: “Yes, but I’d rather not talk too much about it. I’m in touch with a couple of people who I think would be so right for this. I’m eager to get it all up and running.”
In an age where YouTube star Zoella, has become a digital ambassador for mental health charity Mind, and Lionsgate have bought the rights to The Smosh Movie, the power of YouTube celebrities is becoming a force to be reckoned with. Although the site’s sense of community appears to remain a priority for even its most successful stars.
“So far, all the networks have been managed in such an incredibly poor way, it’s embarrassing really,” added Kjellberg. “I’d like to help other YouTubers.”