What made PewDiePie so popular
Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg flaps his fingers. He screwed up his eyes, his eyelids fluttered. "Hello, my name is PewDiePie", the king of Youtubers squeaks into the camera as a greeting. Silliness is just one of his trademarks that the masses love him for.
Kjellberg, 26, aka PewDiePie, has 41.6 million fans on YouTube. Every day there are 20,000 more. He has been leading the list of the most popular Youtubers for more than two years. In 2013, Kjellberg overtook the home owner's YouTube channel with his channel, and now he has almost twice as many subscribers. PewDiePie meets the taste of young internet users with its loud, fast-cut videos. In the meantime, however, he probably has so many fans that some only subscribe to him because he is the most famous Youtuber.
A list from the business magazine Forbes According to October 2015, he earned around twelve million US dollars primarily from advertising - last year alone. Now Kjellberg is going from an entertainer to a little Youtube mogul: He has founded his own network for the platform: Revelmode, which means something like "party mode".
A few friends - or rather: colleagues - are there. "We want to do great things together as a group." The nine Youtubers who come together at Revelmode are the typical average content of the video platform: They make Let's Plays, give make-up tips, record music covers.
With this, Kjellberg wants to further professionalize his work and make it more independent of his previous network "Maker Studios", which has been owned by Disney since 2014. At least that's what he says. Because the move is basically a vote of confidence from Maker and Disney. The new team from PewDiePie will remain part of Maker, the Disney structure secures the whole thing.
From hot dog seller to multimillionaire
Kjellberg, today mass-compatible thanks to bright blue eyes, well-groomed beard and hair gelled to the side, grew up in Gothenburg. His parents, both successful entrepreneurs, want their son to follow in their footsteps. He begins to study "Industrial Economics and Technology Management" at the Chalmers University of Technology. In 2011 he breaks off to devote himself to his YouTube career - at that time with only a few thousand subscribers. Because his parents no longer support him, he works at a hot dog stand in order to be able to pay his rent. When disappointed fans accuse him of prostituting himself for a lot of money, he likes to refer to this old fast food job.
In his first videos, PewDiePie mainly films himself while he is playing horror computer games and is terrified in the process. The more he flinches and screams, the more people want to see his videos. The Swede quickly becomes one of the most successful Youtubers in the world in his early twenties. Since December 22, 2013, it has been by far the most successful.
Kjellberg calls his fans the "Bro-Army". In his videos he curses, shouts profanity into the microphone and makes faces at the camera. His young viewers love him. He ends each of his videos with the "Bro-Fist", which is also his logo: He holds his fist in the camera, his viewers should hold their fist against the screen. "Stay awesome," says PewDiePie when we say goodbye.
Kjellberg's experience with Youtube networks was a "roller coaster"
He's not only filming himself playing horror games for a long time. In his videos he puts on make-up and dresses up in front of the camera, reads Twitter and Youtube comments, tries out little computer games that fans have made for him. He and his girlfriend Marzia answer questions about each other - if they give the wrong answer, they'll shock him with electric batons. Marzia, also a successful Youtuber, screeches no less shrill than he does. The couple has been living with their two boobs Maya and Edgar in Brighton, south of London, for several years. Kjellberg is considered to be extremely media-shy, even though he exposes himself so much on the Internet. He even only visited his previous YouTube network, Maker Studios in California, when absolutely necessary.
If he thinks so little of networks, why is he starting his own now? Most Youtubers who want to earn their living with Youtube are dependent on networks, says Kjellberg in the video in which he introduces Revelmode. "For me it was a roller coaster," he adds. In the past, he made no secret of the fact that he was not happy with his previous YouTube networks: he prefers to work alone, without large production teams. That's why Kjellberg announced in an interview more than a year ago that he would like to set up his own network with a few friends should he leave Maker Studios.
In 2016, Kjellberg is planning his own web series
But Kjellberg does not seem to want to take full risk. In the background of Revelmode, Makers, and thus Disney, remain - for safety. The network in the network in the entertainment company is somewhat reminiscent of a matryoshka. Or like the tech portal Recode describes: to mini music labels like Eminem's "Shady Records", which the rapper takes care of himself, but which belongs to the Universal Music Group. So far, Kjellberg has hardly used the services of the Maker Network. Even in a new role, he will continue to make his crazy and loud films, just as he has done so far. The shows should become more professional, which should be lucrative, especially with regard to payment offers such as YouTube's subscription service "Red".
Kjellberg doesn't have to really worry about the success of the new network. The eight other Youtubers so far, Kjellberg's friends, and their 40 million fans together have a reach of more than 100 million people on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram right from the start. In 2016, Kjellberg also started a YouTube show in cooperation with Robert Kirkman, inventor of the successful zombie television series "The Walking Dead". In it he goes back to his roots: The series entitled "Scare PewDiePie" is about frightening him in front of the camera. As popular as Felix Kjellberg's scared face is, it should reach even more millions of people.
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