Tech Focus: The Rise of the YouTube Star-Making Machine



Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, aka PewDiePie, is a 27 year old Swedish man with an estimated net worth of between $30 and $120 million.

by Rob Guiffre

Never mind the internet bubble.  Or the housing bubble.  Two, three, four or five years ago was the time to get in early on YouTube.

YouTube – the Google-owned video service – has exploded in growth in recent years. Considering the medium is only eleven years old, it has reshaped how Americans, particularly young Americans, view (create?) celebrity.  Need proof?  Try this experiment: find five people under age fourteen.  Ask them if they know of Howard Stern and ask why is he famous. Then ask those same five adolescents about “PewDiePie.”

To those of you old fogies, “PewDiePie”(born Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg)  is a 27 year old Swedish man with a net worth estimated somewhere between $30 and $120 million.  What does he do to amass such wealth?  He records videos of himself playing video games, reviewing media, playing with his dog, yelling, screaming and, in the most general sense, being a goof.  The Wall Street Journal wrote about PewDiePie last year: “The 27 year old Mr. Kjellberg, who created PewDiePie six year ago, has parlayed his persona into a brand name that pulls in the equivalent of $15 million in ad sales a year, most of it pure profit.”

How did this happen and what does it mean?

More and more Americans, especially young Americans, are putting the cable TV remote down and spending those entertainment viewing hours on their smartphones, smart TVs, tablets and personal computers “tuning in” to YouTube.  The appeal is built-in: once a user subscribes to YouTube channels, content is available 24/7 and only a mere click or tap away.  

Here are some impressive YouTube statistics:

  • 6 billion hours of global YouTube content is viewed every month;
  • 1 billion people across the world use YouTube every month;
  • The 18-34 year old U.S. market now watches YouTube more than Cable TV
  • 91% of the 13-17 year old U.S. market have used YouTube last month
  • About $7 billion in advertisements were purchased from YouTube in 2015

There is no doubt that since YouTube burst into public consciousness, there has been a dramatic change in how entertainment, news and technical information is created, produced and watched worldwide.  It also produced an entirely new industry of self-employed content creators.  

But is the golden age of YouTube coming to an end?

Next week, we will look at the recent controversy surrounding YouTube.  A controversy so large that it led PewDiePie – YouTube’s greatest success story and most well-known star – into threatening to delete his channel at 50 million subscribers.

Rob Giuffre is a Network+ and A+ certified computer/network technician and sole owner of RatCat Computers. Call 347-538-6231 for a free quote and to schedule a service appointment for any computer or network issue.  We appreciate, respect and value all of our clients

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