The 26-year-old Swede know as PewDiePie is the face of internet fame, a YouTube star whose manic videos are miles from mainstream, but a massive hit among his 41 million passionate subscribers. Earlier this year YouTube announced that it was partnering with PewDiePie and the producers of the TV smash The Walking Dead to create a new original series, Scare PewDiePie. Today PewDiePie made another big step from talent to media mogul, revealing his own video network, RevelMode, which will produce original shows by PewDiePie and stars of his choosing, all backed by Maker Studios, the massive YouTube network which is itself owned by Disney.
In a statement PewDiePie, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, said that RevelMode will create everything from "one-off videos to original series to gamey games to animatoons [sic], music, clothes, charity drives, and more — really anything that’s awesome in the eyes of the fans." Maker says that the talent PewDiePie has assembled for RevelMode has over 100 million subscribers on YouTube, Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The first batch of names include CinnamonToastKen (Ken Morrison), CutiePieMarzia (Marzia Bisognin), Dodger (Brooke Lawson), EmmaBlackery (Emma Blackery), JackSepticEye (Sean McLoughlin), Jelly (Jelle van Vucht), Kwebbelkop (Jordi van den Bussche), and Markiplier (Mark Fischbach).
PewDiePie is trying to create a smaller, less corporate YouTube network
As my colleague over at Recode, Peter Kafka, points out, PewDiePie had talked openly about his desire to create a network while renegotiating his contract with Maker in 2014, and now he's got one. In the announcement video for RevelMode, PewDiePie explains to his fans that he has relied on Maker as a network to make his living as a YouTuber, but notes that it hasn't been all positive, calling the experience a "roller coaster." Think of him as an artist with enough success to demand more autonomy, a musician who is now creating an indie label backed by a major, one that he hopes will have better values and be more responsive to its members, even if it loses a "little bit of hipster cred" for being funded by the same giant corporation in the end.
The Future of YouTube YouTube's moneyman talks about the future of online video