Eric Johnson

Recent Posts by Eric Johnson

Move Over, Rihanna. Meet PewDiePie, YouTube’s Biggest Star.

pewdiepieYou probably haven’t heard of PewDiePie. But your kids probably have.

The 23-year-old YouTube star is a “gamecaster,” which means he makes videos of himself playing videogames, along with the occasional low-brow, low-fi comedy skit.

PewDiePie now has 12 million fans subscribing to his YouTube channel. And Felix Kjellberg (that’s his real name) calls that number “unbelievable.”

Why? For starters, because Rihanna only has nine million. And because, last night, Kjellberg became the most popular person on YouTube, producing clips like this:

That’s good news for Maker Studios, the VC- and Hollywood-funded online video talent house, which signed Kjellberg up a while ago. And it’s a poke in the eye for Alloy Digital, whose Smosh duo had previously held that title.

One commonality between Kjellberg, Smosh, and lots of other big YouTube stars: Girls like them. While lots of gamecasters attract male viewers, Maker said that 45 percent of PewDiePie subscribers are female. He collectively refers to his fans as “the bros,” though.

The big problem with having all those bros, Kjellberg says, is keeping all of them happy — including the ones who send him funny-creepy fan fiction.

“That’s the problem with growing on YouTube,” he said. “It was so much easier to connect with my fans when I was smaller. I could answer every message, and I enjoyed doing that. But I try to make videos where I talk to my fans directly [... and] I still answer as many messages as possible. Hopefully, they’ll understand and still appreciate it.”


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There’s a lot of attention and PR around Marissa, but their product lineup just kind of blows.

— Om Malik on Bloomberg TV, talking about Yahoo, the September issue of Vogue Magazine, and our overdependence on Google