Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg, formerly the YouTube creator with the most subscribers, is internet royalty. With such a large following comes a plethora of income opportunities, which PewDiePie is well aware of.
At the time of writing, the Swedish YouTuber has 109 million subscribers on YouTube, and it wasn’t long ago that he was leading the entire competition. Ad rates alone let him gain a significant amount of wealth by allowing him to easily rack up millions of views.
He may no longer be the most subscribed channel, but over the years of making content, he’s been developing new revenue streams to supplement his income or protect his position outside of the platform.
Let’s look at PewDiePie’s net worth and the various revenue streams he’s created, which range from apparel brands to developing his own games.
PewDiePie’s Most Successful Years
Between 2010 and 2011, PewDiePie’s fame climbed steadily. By December 2011, he had amassed 60,000 subscribers. Over the course of 2012, his channel grew rapidly, reaching 1 million members in July and increasing to 2 million by September. In December 2012, he signed with Maker Studios, and money began to trickle in.
In February 2013, his fan base surpassed 5 million. In June of that year, he surpassed Jenna Marbles to become YouTube’s second most popular channel, with a staggering 10 million subscribers.
On August 15, 2013, PewDiePie dethroned Smosh as the most popular YouTuber. On November 1, 2013, he became the first YouTube channel to exceed 15 million followers.
His earnings in 2013 were estimated at $4 million by the Wall Street Journal. He later confirmed the accuracy of this assessment in a video.
In 2014, PewDiePie was able to broaden his horizons by airing episodes of BroKen, a co-hosted series, on MLG.tv. During 2014, he also added 14 million new customers.
In 2015 and 2016, he maintained a wide range of internet activities. Several of them were profitable. He started his YouTube Red paid service channel at this point.
In late October 2015, he published the book This Book Loves You.
PewDiePie had amassed a whopping 50 million subscribers by the end of 2016.
PewDiePie’s Worst Year
While PewDiePie’s Net Worth soared from 2013 to 2016, it appears to have leveled out following a tumultuous and divisive 2017.
T-series, an Indian record label, took up his No. 1 spot for Total Video Views at the start of the year. T-Series has surpassed PewDiePie’s total views of 15.7 million with 20.2 billion.
PewDiePie received a lot of backlash in 2017 for some of his non-PC statements in his videos. The most significant controversy occurred when he paid a handful of people on Fiverr to post the message “Death to all Jews” on a banner in the background of one of his movies.
He appeared to be constantly on the defensive when addressing racist claims.
The incident was covered by the Wall Street Journal, who took a keen interest in PewDiePie’s situation. Throughout the year, he was repeatedly accused of racism.
Maker Studios, which is owned by Disney, cut ties with him in early 2017, and he hasn’t appeared on a multi-channel network since. He was dropped from Google’s Preferred advertising program, and his YouTube Red series “Scare PewDiePie” was canceled. These actions will have hampered his ability to earn money.
What is PewDiePie’s Net Worth?
Clearly, Felix is the only person who is aware of PewDiePie’s net worth. However, several attempts to estimate it have been done in recent years. His earnings increased year after year from 2010 through 2016, when Forbes said he was YouTube’s highest earner, earning $15 million that year.
PewDiePie’s net worth is variously estimated online. This should come as no surprise given that they are simply estimations. While it is reasonably easy to estimate his income, it is more difficult to predict how much he has spent throughout the years. PewDiePie’s net worth is expected to be between $35 and $55 million in 2021.
How PewDiePie Makes Money?
1. Content and Brand Commitments
Let’s start with the obvious: ads in his video content. The average CPM on YouTube is $2 (the amount of money paid per 1,000 views). This varies depending on numerous things, and Google keeps 45 percent of the cash generated, so it can be difficult to sustain oneself only on this. PewDiePie, regardless, is a huge magnet for viewers and will easily earn hundreds of thousands of dollars every month this way.
In addition to advertising revenue, he sells channel memberships with varied benefits. Monthly subscriptions of £1.99, £4.99, and £6.99 are available, with members receiving special access to loyalty badges, personalized emojis, a community Discord, and live streaming. He donates earnings from his streams to a number of charitable organizations each month, for example, a $133,169 payment to the Blue Cross Foundation for money generated in January 2021.
An exclusive deal PewDiePie inked with the Google-owned platform in May 2020 is the third and last source of money PewDiePie earns directly from YouTube. Previously, he had an exclusive partnership with DLive, a blockchain-powered broadcasting platform. The terms of the exclusive agreement were not disclosed, but he couldn’t have been a cheap creative to secure.
Another source of income for him is brand deals, which are common among content creators. He gets paid to promote items through sponsorships with companies including Arkade, Mountain Dew, and Legendary Pictures (and even movies in some cases).
Affiliate campaigns are typical in brand collaborations, and he has his fair share of affiliate links in his YouTube video descriptions. His chair, keyboard, mouse, and NordVPN all have affiliate connections. PewDiePie also has his own G FUEL flavor, as well as a line of shakers, energy drinks, and powder tubs, from which he earns a fee.
2. Apparel Brands
Tsuki is a unisex brand created by PewDiePie and his partner Marzia. Tsuki has a few different lines, including a basic collection and one that is inspired by space programs.
PewDiePie has also launched a brand that manufactures and distributes “high level, wearable offline gaming equipment” in November 2020. Caps, pullovers, pants, hoodies, and t-shirts are currently available from Based.
3. Other Business Ventures
PewDiePie has a number of collaborations in place, including one with G FUEL. In conjunction with Vidglo, he has his own collectible figurine, which he describes as a “monumental piece of history,” a line of phone cases made with RhinoShield, and a retail collection with adventure sandbox game Terraria.
PewDiePie published his first book in 2015. This Book Loves You, a parody of self-help books that he produced with Penguin in October 2015, has been described as a “book full of useless quotes” by one Amazon reader. It went on to become a New York Times Bestseller, with over 112,000 copies sold as of January 2017.
When he produced his first video game with Canadian studio Outerminds in 2015, the YouTuber became a games designer in his own right. PewDiePie: Legend of the Brofist is available for iOS and Android and costs £4.99 in the Apple App Store.
Since then, he’s created three new games: PewDiePie’s Tuber Simulator, PewDiePie’s Pixelings, and Poopdie, as well as consulting with Armin Ibrisagic, the creator of Goat Simulator, on his game Animal Super Squad. All three of the games he owns have in-app purchases, continuing the trend of game companies profiting handsomely from free games through microtransactions.
PewDiePie Has Shown That It Is Possible to Make Millions Online
Regardless of who has determined the most accurate estimate of PewDiePie’s net worth, the truth remains that he is living proof that being a renowned internet personality can bring you a fortune. Some would say that he also makes a lot of money by being controversial.
The most important takeaway from PewDiePie’s 2017 is that in difficult times, you can often roll with the punches and survive. Many people were upset by PewDiePie. However, the people he offended were not always those who followed him. The fact that he only lost a few subscribers and now has more than he did before the issues underscores this.
It will be interesting to see where PewDiePie heads next.