Brief

YouTube's top influencer launches a new show — on Twitch

Dive Brief:

  • Felix Kjellberg, better known as YouTube's PewDiePie, has launched a new show on the Amazon-owned streaming service Twitch, according to Mashable. 
  • The program, called "Best Club," aired its first episode April 9 and will run every Sunday at 11 am ET and possibly more frequently throughout the week.
  • Kjellberg is one of YouTube's most successful influencers, with The Wall Street Journal reporting he made $9.2 million in ad revenue from his video content in 2016. However, a string of his recent videos were deemed anti-Semitic, leading him to be dropped from both Disney's Maker Studios and Google's Preferred advertising program, and his YouTube series "Scare PewDiePie" was canceled. Kjellberg insists the Twitch show was in the works prior to his YouTube troubles, per Mashable.   

Dive Insight:

In retrospect, the initial controversy around PewDiePie and his publishing of videos deemed unsafe for brands were a harbinger of things to come for Google's YouTube.

A number of big-name marketers, including Verizon, Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo and Nestle, have frozen spend on the platform after finding their ads appeared next to content depicting terrorism or things like hate speech. While Google tries to figure out a solution to its brand safety woes, content creators — PewDiePie included — have taken a direct hit to their income, and some might be weighing migrating to other platforms like Twitch. 

YouTube has also entirely reconfigured the way it serves ads on videos, requiring a channel achieve 10,000 "lifetime" total views and then be vetted by an internal review process to ensure the channel is credible. Kjellberg referred to this policy change, coupled with the brand safety boycotts, as YouTube's "adpocalypse." 

Twitch is ultimately a more niche platform than YouTube, centered largely around gaming and live streams, but Kjellberg's loyal core audience will likely follow him across platforms, as is usually the case with influencers. As YouTube continues to introduce policies that might frustrate its creators and hurt their revenue, Amazon — slowly growing into a digital advertising powerhouse — might think of putting more of a focus on building out Twitch to be more accommodating to less niche creators and to more brands.

In the first episode of "Best Club," Kjellberg asked viewers for donations, per Mashable. 

Filed Under: Social Media Trends Video
Top image credit: PewDiePie