PewDiePie may have started his YouTube career only in 2010, but by 2016 he was named as one of the world’s 100 Most Influential People by Time Magazine. Just to put this into perspective, the list is normally filled by celebrities, activists and powerful politicians. So, how did PewDiePie, a YouTuber, end up on this list in just 6 years? And how much does PewDiePie make?
In a nutshell, PewDiePie uploads videos of him playing various video games. Until very recently, he had the highest amount of subscribers ever for a YouTube channel. Millions of people tune in to watch videos of him playing games. Currently, as of 2020, he has a whopping 105 million subscribers on his channel.
Not only does he get paid insane amounts from YouTube ad revenue, but also earns by collaborating with gaming brands. Gaming companies found that their sales skyrocketed after being featured in his videos, even if people haven’t heard of the game before. He makes millions of dollars every month and often collaborates with other gamers or YouTubers.
How PewDiePie Got Started
PewDiePie was born Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg on 24th October 1989 in Gothenburg, Sweden. He was born to relatively well-to-do parents, with his mom being a decorated Swedish Chief Information Officer (CIO) and his father being a corporate executive.
He was primarily raised in Sweden and there, his passion for video games started quite young, with Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog being some of his favorite games. In fact, he has stated how he would skip school to go and play video games with his friends.
By 2010, Kjellberg had enrolled in Chalmers University Technology in Sweden to study industrial economics and technology management. Soon though, he realized that he didn’t relate to university life and hated his course, so he dropped out in 2011.
Of course, he wasn’t entirely unambitious or directionless at his time in university. He loved graphic design and photo manipulation, with exceptional skill in Photoshopping pictures. He often entered Photoshop contests and
Fortunately for PewDiePie, he had already set up his YouTube channel by 2010, just before he dropped out. How did he come up with his quirky YouTube handle? Apparently, ‘Pew’ comes from the sound a shooting laser makes, and he just mashed it together with something that rhymes with ‘cutie pie’.
Of course, things took a while to take off. It wasn’t all fun and games at this point. At the time he dropped out of college to pursue YouTube full-time, YouTube channels weren’t that lucrative and it was a massive risk. So, at that point in time, he just seemed like a college drop-out who played video games all day—with no clue about forging a stable career.
His parents weren’t that pleased either for dropping out of college, and cut him off financially. To support himself, he worked at a hot dog stand and sold his graphic designs.
On his channel, he started a ‘Let’s Play’ series of videos, where he incorporated play-by-plays of various video games with engaging and funny commentaries. His videos of horror-themed video games, in particular, were quite popular with his new audience.
One of his first viral videos was from 2010, where his hilarious commentary while playing the game ‘Minecraft’ drew in millions of viewers. That video has over 12 million views so far. So, it’s safe to say that PewDiePie’s massive gamble with his career and education paid off.
By the end of 2011, he had gained 60,000 subscribers. By mid-2012, he had his first million subscribers. So, it’s needless to say that by this time, he didn’t need that job at the hot dog stand.
Fast forward to August 2013, he had the most subscribers of any YouTube channel, knocking off the Smosh Brothers for the top spot. They all got together and did a funny skit, where they placed a princess tiara and sash on PewDiePie, declaring him the new ‘King of YouTube’. By the end of 2013, PewDiePie had amassed a whopping 19 million subscribers.
His popularity among his audience was so contagious that several unknown video games have found huge success just by PewDiePie playing them in his videos. ‘Goat Simulator’ and ‘I Am Bread’ are examples of this.
What Makes PewDiePie So Popular?
You might be wondering how a guy playing video games in his room can amass so many followers in such a short span of time. The answer is his unique humor and content. While his content primarily features video games, it’s his witty commentary that makes him stand out among other gamers on YouTube.
His crude, unfiltered, explosive commentary proves to be a huge hit among his young audience. He also makes funny skits, vlogs, and recently started talking about various topics on entertainment and media.
Of course, there are also downsides to his unfiltered commentary. He has landed in hot water multiple times for saying controversial things, even very early on in his career. For example, back in 2012, he got in trouble for joking about sexual assault. In 2016, he got into trouble for a joke he made about joining an extremist terror group. More recently, in 2020, he garnered quite a bit of backlash over his comments that were deemed by many to be anti-semitic.
Earning on YouTube as a massive channel can be lucrative as long as YouTube allows monetization and companies want to work with you. While PewDiePie is funny and hugely engaging to his followers, some of his controversial comments have cost him financially.
Companies like Disney, for example, cut ties with him after a Wall Street Journal article found that many of his videos contained anti-semitic material. YouTube also cut off the second season of his show on YouTube Red called ‘Scare PewDiePie’.
Of course, this hasn’t stopped PewDiePie’s popularity from growing. In 2017, he launched a very successful YouTube series called ‘Meme Review’. The show went on to feature well known guests like Elon Musk and Dr. Phil. He currently has the third largest YouTube channel, and continues making creative skits and commentaries.
When it comes to YouTube content, we know that massive subscribers usually equals massive earnings. He also kept things very simple early on in his career. His video content is mostly of him playing video games, requiring minimal editing, production and equipment. So, this leads to the question: ‘How much does PewDiePie make?’
On average, it is said that YouTube pays about $2 for every 1,000 views of a video. This, of course, depends on the size of the channel and viewer engagement as well. PewDiePie’s videos have very good engagement with his fans, averaging around 5-10 millions views per video. Based on these figures, some estimates have him making around $30,000 per video.
So, how much does PewDiePie make in a year? If we go by the earlier calculations, and the assumption that he makes around 15 videos a month, his earnings comes to about $2million per month. These earnings come from YouTube display ads.
However, some analysts put this figure as high as $8 million per month. When you consider a whole year, there is a larger discrepancy between the numbers as he could be earning between $24 million and $90 million per year from YouTube ads alone.
It’s not PewDiePie’s YouTube earnings that makes him the most money, compared to his other income streams. He makes a huge amount of money by selling merchandise—estimated to be around $6 million per month. Factoring in other brand deals he may have, this figure comes to well over $8 million per month.
What is PewDiePie’s Net Worth?
It is hard to estimate exactly how much PewDiePie is worth, because this would require detailed information about endorsements and brand deals. We also know that PewDiePie’s endorsement history hasn’t been smooth sailing due to his many controversies. However, some estimates range from $90 million to $130 million.
What does PewDiePie do for a living?
He makes videos of him playing video games and features funny commentary. He also collaborates with his friends and other YouTubers to make funny skits. More recently, he makes funny commentaries on various topics related to sports, current affairs, lifestyle and entertainment topics.
Who is PewDiePie’s girlfriend?
PewDiePie actually married his longtime girlfriend of 8 years Marzia on August 19, 2019. In London. She started dating PewDiePie in 2011 after meeting through a mutual friend, the same year his channel took off. She often makes cameos in his videos, and he often makes parody videos of her with his friends.