Is YouTube's Biggest Star Striking Out on His Own?
PewDiePie says he wants to start his own network
With more than 31 million subscribers, Maker Studios client Felix "PewDiePie" Kjellberg is YouTube's biggest star. But the Swedish gamer is thinking about taking those subscribers and going independent.
Kjellberg is considering creating an independent network with his friends when his contract with Disney-owned Maker is up in December, he told Swedish magazine Icon. "I'd rather not talk too much about it," he said when asked about the network. "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."
He also described his relationship with Maker as relatively hands-off. "The fact that Disney bought Maker Studios doesn't really change anything for me," he said. "If I ask for help, they reply, but that's all the contact we have. We'll see what happens."
Kjellberg rose to fame five years ago when he began posting videos to YouTube that showed him playing video games. He is known for the strange noises and sound effects that he makes while broadcasting his gameplay. In June, The Wall Street Journal reported that he makes $4 million from ad sales on his YouTube videos.
But Kjellberg is critical of the multichannel networks that have cropped up to work with stars like him. "So far, all the networks have been managed in such an incredibly poor way it's embarrassing really," he said. "I'd like to help YouTubers."
He's especially critical of Machinima, the gamer-centric network that he worked with at first. "During the time I was a member of their network, I grew into the world's biggest YouTuber — and they didn't even know I was with them," he said. "They didn't get in touch a single time, except when I wanted to leave — then their CEO emailed me once."
Maker did not immediately respond to a request for comment.