By Sahil Patel
Felix Kjellberg, known by most people as the YouTube-based gamer PewDiePie, is a bonafide celebrity on the world’s biggest video site. The man has more than 27.7 million subscribers — more than any other independent creator — on YouTube.
It’s a following that reflects how popular the gaming category is on YouTube, as millions and millions of people regularly tune-in to watch their favorite personalities play their favorite video games.
It’s also a following that netted Kjellberg $4 million in ad sales in 2013, according to a profile published by The Wall Street Journal on the profanity-prone but press-shy creator.
Most of those sales were pure profit, Kjellberg told The Journal. That said, some of the revenue went to Maker Studios, the YouTube multi-channel giant that now belongs to The Walt Disney Company. Maker signed Kjellberg to its network — specifically within its gaming-centric Polaris vertical — in late 2012.
In addition to the cut Maker commands for managing Kjellberg’s YouTube channel, it’s unclear how much of that $4 million went to YouTube, which customarily takes a 45% cut of all video-ad revenue generated by a channel.
Kjellberg’s rise to the top of the YouTube mountain began five years ago, when he began posting videos under the PewDiePie moniker. Since then, his massive audience reach has also translated into real influence within the gaming industry. Per WSJ, a critical video Kjellberg posted of the mobile game Flappy Bird was a primary driver of the game becoming a major hit.