PewDiePie Hints at Leaving Maker Studios, Starting Own Network
Felix Kjellberg, known by now as PewDiePie, the biggest star on YouTube, doesn’t seem all that interested in renewing his contract with Maker Studios — in fact, he doesn’t seem all that high on multi-channel networks in general.
This comes via comments the gaming creator made during an interview with Swedish magazine Icon (via The Wall Street Journal). Kjellberg, who has more than 31 million subscribers on YouTube and is an important part of Maker’s pitch as a network of the biggest and best YouTube talent, doesn’t seem all that impressed by the fact that his MCN was acquired by Disney. And that could play a role when his contract runs out in December.
“The fact that Disney bought Maker Studios doesn’t really change anything for me. If I ask for help, they reply, but that’s all the contact we have,” he said. “We’ll see what happens.”
Instead, it appears Kjellberg is set to start a network of his own. “I’d rather not talk too much about it. 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. So far, all the networks have been managed in such an incredibly poor way, it’s embarrassing really. I’d like to help other YouTubers.”
Perhaps Kjellberg’s opinions of MCNs stem from a less-than-stellar experience with the network he has been associated with prior to Maker Studios. Before Maker, PewDiePie belonged to Machinima. That relationship did not end well, as Kjellberg had to go to court to get out of his lifetime contract with the gaming-focused MCN.
“It was managed in such a terrible way. 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! They didn’t get in touch a single time, except when I wanted to leave — then their CEO* e-mailed me once,” Kjellberg said to Icon.
Earlier this year, it was reported that Kjellberg makes $4 million a year from YouTube ad sales. That number should only grow as his subscriber count grows, and if there isn’t an MCN he has to share some of that revenue with.
Because PewDiePie also doesn’t seem to be interested in sponsored or branded content, at least if his anecdote about a recent video shoot involving Disney-owned Star Wars characters is to be believed.
“Disney recently sent over a bunch of people dressed as Stormtroopers to make a video together with me, for charity. First of all, they got upset when they found out that there was no specific room for them to change clothes. And then, they didn’t agree to do basically anything in the video because it was not OK with ‘The Star Wars Universe.’ It all turned into chaos and it took a very long time. Finally, we ended up with something that they were going to edit but it was so bad I had to do it over and edit it myself. Furthermore, I don’t want PewDiePie to be some kind of trademark that I lose control over.”
December should be an interesting month.
* At that time, Machinima’s CEO was Allen DeBevoise, who is an investor in VideoInk.Tags: disney, Machinima, maker studios, MCN, PewDiePie, YouTube Creators