PewDiePie returns to YouTube with exclusive live-stream deal
James R | On 05, May 2020
PewDiePie is returning to YouTube with an exclusive live-streaming deal.
The Swedish YouTuber, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, first began posting videos on YouTube in 2010 and has since become one of the most popular creators on the site. He currently has more than 104 million subscribers.
His popularity comes despite a controversial rise through the streaming ranks, after some anti-Semitic jokes and Nazi imagery featured in his videos sparked a scandal in 2017. He was promptly dropped from YouTube Premium (where he had a YouTube original series, called Scare PewDiePie) and the multi-channel network Maker Studios.
In 2019, he stopped live-streaming on YouTube altogether and announced that he would move to Dlive, another platform which promised higher returns. But he has nonetheless remained a major figure on the site, becoming the first creator to reach 100 million subscribers, earning a YouTube Red Diamond Creator Award for the achievement.
Earlier this year, he took a hiatus from YouTube, where he has continued to post non-live videos, complaining about YouTube not enforcing its policies. Now, though, he’s coming back into the official fold, with a new deal to live-stream exclusively on the site.
The deal is an indication of YouTube’s switching strategy for its video growth, after largely scrapping its scripted, premium original shows in favour of developing original series that are unscripted and focused around its own roster of creators. Live-streaming is the other arm of its general push to dominate streaming, as it seeks to fend off rival service Twitch, which, in turn, has branched out from its initial focus on video games. (PewDiePie has previously streamed on Twitch, amassing 1.1 million followers, but has now removed all of his previous videos on the site.)
YouTube has now made similar pacts with video game creators, including CouRage, LazarBeam, Typical Gamer and Valkyrae.
“YouTube has been my home for over a decade now and live streaming on the platform feels like a natural fit as I continue to look for new ways to create content and interact with fans worldwide,” Kjellberg said in a statement. “Live-streaming is something I’m focusing a lot on in 2020 and beyond, so to be able to partner with YouTube and be at the forefront of new product features is special and exciting for the future.”