PewDiePie, also known as Felix Kjellberg, reportedly planned to slow down in 2014. The 25-year old, who is easily the most successful YouTube star ever, has 37 million subscribers. He's basically a YouTube industry all his on own. And apparently the fame and pressure that come with this online stardom is not something Mr. Kjellberg is particularly comfortable with. After setting subscriber and earnings records in 2013, he originally decided 2014 would be the year for him to step away and chill a bit. However, it would seem the "interwebs" had other plans.
At this point, Felix's life story is fairly well known. He's been the subject of many articles and short documentaries about YouTube culture. In case you're new to him, here's a quick rundown. Felix Kjellberg, also known as Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, was born on October 24th, 1989 in Gotenburg, Sweden. He majored in Industrial Economics and Technology at Chalmers University of Technology, and played lots of video games in his spare time. When he was in college, he had no money and could barely afford a computer at all.
His passion for video games led to his dropping out of school. He soon found himself so broke that he began working at a hot dog stand.
In 2010, Felix began making videos of himself playing video games, so that other players could experience what the games were actually like to play. To this day, the videos are quite homegrown-looking, and he does most of his own editing. His enthusiasm for the games, which is reflected in his tendency to jump around and shout while he's playing, has made him a favorite of just about every gamer out there. It took two years, and a deal with Marker Studios to build up enough of a subscription base to focus on making videos full-time. By November of 2013, he had 15 million subscribers. By December of 2013, he had 19 million subscribers. He finished out the year having earned more subscribers than any other channel on YouTube.
Fast forward to today, and PewDiePie's videos have been viewed more than 9 billion times. His most popular video has been viewed over 54 million times. In March of 2014, after announcing that he was going to scale back and upload less, he passed some of the production responsibilities to Maker Studios. Until 2014, he'd been primarily responsible for producing and uploading his 2300+ videos. When Maker Studios took on more responsibility, the company took his channel to another level, including releasing a PewDiePie app for iPhone.
With less direct responsibility for his channel, it freed him up to explore other revenue streams. In the fall, MLG.tv began streaming episodes of "BroKen", an online gaming commentary series that he co-hosts with Kenneth Morrison, another video game commentator. From April 2014 to August 2014, he was part of the marketing campaign for the film, "As Above, So Below". He also worked with Mountain Dew to promote a fan fiction contest in early 2015. He also made appearances on Swedish radio and played himself in two episodes of "South Park". In December 2014, he announced that he was developing his own video game. His channel continues to earn subscribers at an astonishing rate. In 2014, he earned 14 million new subscribers and his videos were watched 4.1 billion times.
So how much money does this success translate into? In 2013 PewDiePie earned a little over $4 million. In 2014, Felix reportedly earned $7.4 million. That's $7.4 million AFTER Maker Studios takes a management fee. That's $7.4 million after YouTube takes their share of his ad revenue. $7.4 million straight to PewDiePie. A 25 year old video game fan who owns a webcam.
Felix is rather embarrassed by his success and all the talk about his income. Yesterday he posted a video to his channel titled "Lets Talk About Money" in which he recaps his rise from broke college drop out to hot dog stand worker to YouTube millionaire. He describes how when he first started he had no idea people could make money off internet videos, it was just something he loved to do. Felix openly admits that he makes lots of money for basically just yelling at his screen, but he reminds everyone that his silly videos have over 9 billion views! He also wonders why no one was ever mentioned the fact that his channel has raised over $1 million for charity in the last few years. Felix actually has a lot of interesting stuff to say in this video about money and the negative reactions he gets from people who learn about his income, check it out:
Though he does not like to talk about his income at all, it's safe to say that it is only going to get bigger, not smaller. Just five years ago, he was a college drop-out working part-time at a hot dog stand. Now he has a net worth of $12 million and a job that pays $7 million per year. Good luck slowing down, PewDiePie. There are 37 million people waiting for your next video.