By Sahil Patel
Mobile accounts for almost 40% of global watch time on YouTube, according to the company’s stats page. But for most creators, there’s a difficulty in relying only on YouTube’s algorithms to attract users of the site’s mobile app — which is why many of them are looking to build custom apps to directly reach their fans, often with the help of companies that specialize in those services.
Maker Studios, one of the largest multi-channel networks on YouTube, also has the ability to build mobile apps for its talent. These apps use video-player technology that came with Maker’s Blip acquisition last fall. To date, the company has launched custom apps for “Epic Rap Battles of History” and Baker, as well as its gaming network Polaris.
Now, the company has launched one for the biggest name on YouTube: Felix Kjellberg, known by most as the Swedish gamer PewDiePie with more than 29 million subscribers on YouTube.
The new PewDiePie app, which is available for free on iOS devices, allows Kjellberg’s fans to watch videos, create custom feeds, and share clips via Facebook, Twitter, text message, and email. It’s a fairly basic setup, but one that could pay dividends as Kjellberg’s fans now won’t have to navigate the YouTube app to find PewDiePie videos.
According to The Guardian, which was the first to report on the launch, there’s the potential for Maker and Kjellberg to introduce additional features at a later date. These can include chat and other community functions, as well as features to sell merchandise and execute crowdfunding campaigns.
What’s more, as evident by anyone who’s talked about the difficulties of building a business entirely on YouTube*, the mobile app will allow Maker and Kjellberg to keep all of the revenue made from ads on the app, instead of giving YouTube its customary 45% cut.
* This hasn’t necessarily been an issue for Kjellberg, who reportedly made $4 million last year from his YouTube videos.