YouTube top star PewDiePie just became the next network mogul.
Wednesday, Disney’s online multichannel network Maker Studios unveiled “new media brand” Revelmode, spearheaded by PewdiePie. The gaming video personality, with more than 41 million subscribers, runs the biggest channel on YouTube.
For Disney, the launch unlocks some of the most valuable intellectual property built into its high-profile takeover of Maker Studios for at least $500 million in 2014. The company’s strategy in buying Maker was to cross-pollinate its blockbuster brands like Star Wars and Marvel and its immense scale with Maker’s new-media stars and digital know-how. PewDiePie, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, is the jewel in Maker’s crown, but his public involvement with Disney has been limited since the deal.
“The idea of Revelmode was built from my own experiences and will aim to bring together an Avengers-like talent squad to work and grow a business together,” Kjellberg said in a statement, borrowing one of Disney’s top brands as a metaphor.
The concept is popular online. Properties like Smosh have expanded beyond that comedy duo to include a roster of channels, games and other talent, and other online stars like beauty guru Michelle Phan have launched networks to curate and amplify talent and business in their particular areas of expertise.
Revelmode joins Kjellberg with other online gaming talent including Mark Fischbach (aka Markiplier with 11 million subscribers), Sean McLoughlin (aka JackSepticEye with 8 million subscribers) and Kjellberg’s girlfriend Marzia Bisognin (aka CutiePieMarzia with 6 million subscribers), as well as others.
Revelmode will focus on creating videos, developing games, fostering philanthropic programs, securing commercial partnerships and selling merchandise. Kjellberg said that can include “animatoons,” music, clothes and charity drives. Its first programming project will be an animated series featuring the entire talent team as a collection of new characters.
“We’re thrilled to be doubling down with Felix,” Maker Studios head Courtney Holt said in a release.