By David Pierson
Los Angeles Times
Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg, the wildly popular YouTube star once called the “emperor” of the Internet by late-night comedian Stephen Colbert, is getting his own digital network.
Revelmode will feature Kjellberg and a roster of like-minded online video creators. The company is being launched in collaboration with the Disney-owned Maker Studios, a digital entertainment company based in Culver City, Calif., with a stable of social media and YouTube stars.
“Revelmode will focus on premium content, game development, philanthropic programs, commercial partnerships and merchandise,” Maker Studios said in a prepared statement Wednesday. “The brand emerged from the idea that digital content has the power to entertain and unite fans, as well as inspire millennials into positive social action.”
In a video posted the same day, Kjellberg put it more simply by saying, “Revelmode is me and a bunch of really awesome YouTubers coming together as a group to do awesome things.”
The new network comes at a time when digital stars such as Kjellberg have been rewriting the rules of celebritydom and enjoying more mainstream success.
Actress Rachel Bloom was a YouTube star before winning a Golden Globe on Sunday for her role on the CW television show “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.” Tyler Oakley has made the jump from YouTube to joining CBS’s “The Amazing Race.” Meanwhile, his book “Binge” is currently No. 5 on the New York Times’ bestseller list for hardcore nonfiction.
Kjellberg, however, is the reigning champion of YouTube with more than 40 million subscribers to his channel — a record and counting.
The 26-year-old Swedish Internet sensation started posting videos of himself playing video games in 2010. An enigma to older generations, Kjellberg has been embraced by legions of young fans (and advertisers) who enjoy watching him shriek and curse his way through video games.
That’s enough to have made him the highest paid YouTube star last year at $12 million, according to Forbes.
Revelmode will center on video gaming and pop culture. It will include video creators such as Marzia Bisognin (CutiePieMarzia), Ken Morrison (CinnamonToastKen), Sean McLoughlin (JackSepticEye) and several others.
Collectively, the group boasts over 100 million followers on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat combined — making it an instant force for millennial marketing.
Content from Revelmode will be distributed across all those platforms.
The introduction of Revelmode means Kjellberg has effectively extended his contract with Maker Studios, a company he began working with in 2012 to help promote and develop his videos.