Disney's Maker Studios expands deal with Felix Kjellberg for gaming and pop-culture brand
PewDiePie, the massively popular YouTube creator and host, is expanding his digital-media empire with the launch of Revelmode: a new entertainment network that will feature the gaming vlogger and friends in a variety of original series.
The digital star — whose real name is Felix Kjellberg — is producing Revelmode in partnership with Disney’s Maker Studios, the multichannel network that PewDiePie has been affiliated with since 2012. The new initiative highlights the fact that Maker was very eager to keep Kjellberg and his 41.5 million YouTube subscribers in the MCN’s fold.
“We’re thrilled to be doubling down with Felix,” Courtney Holt, executive VP and head of Maker Studios, said in a statement. “He is an amazing talent, a great partner and the pulse of millennial pop culture. We firmly believe in his vision for Revelmode and his chosen creators — we can’t wait to see the possibilities ahead.”
Revelmode, available on the web, YouTube, Facebook and other platforms, will comprise video content as well as game development, philanthropic programs, commercial partnerships and merchandise. The network’s first programming initiative will be an animated series featuring PewDiePie and the initial group of creator partners as a collection of new characters.
“I started as a gaming and digital-content fan long before making this a profession,” Kjellberg said in a statement. “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.”
PewDiePie and his talent partners will focus on creating everything from “one-off videos to original series to gamey games to animatoons, music, clothes, charity drives, and more — really anything that’s awesome in the eyes of the fans,” Kjellberg added.
Kjellberg, together with Maker Studios, will select and develop talent who align with the Revelmode brand. The creator network will be dedicated to building community connections, and Revelmode will invest in projects driven by the individual talent and collaborations between them.
At launch, the Revelmode talent squad includes: CinnamonToastKen (Ken Morrison), CutiePieMarzia (Marzia Bisognin), Dodger (Brooke Lawson), EmmaBlackery (Emma Blackery), JackSepticEye (Sean McLoughlin), Jelly (Jelle van Vucht), Kwebbelkop (Jordi van den Bussche) and Markiplier (Mark Fischbach). All told, the Revelmode creators have more than 100 million followers across YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, according to Maker.
Revelmode is positioned as more than just fun: The network will encourage fans to raise funds for various social causes such as Charity: Water, which was Kjellberg’s first major philanthropic collaborator starting in 2013, and Save the Children.
In addition, the brand will focus on game development. Kjellberg’s first foray into the space was a collaboration with Outerminds called “Legend of the Brofist,” which debuted at No. 1 on the iTunes Store and remained in the top spot for more than three weeks. The game features some of the Revelmode launch squad as characters.
The 26-year-old Kjellberg raked in an estimated $12 million in 2015, Forbes estimated, which would make him the highest-paid YouTuber. PewDiePie also took the No. 1 position on Variety‘s Famechangers ranking last year of the most influential digital stars.
Like other big-name digital talent, Kjellberg has steadily expanded his business endeavors beyond producing content for his PewDiePie channel on YouTube.
In October 2015, the Swedish native published his first book, “This Book Loves You” with Penguin Random House. He also will star in original series “Scare PewDiePie,” a co-production of Maker and the creator and exec producers of “The Walking Dead” at Skybound Entertainment, slated to premiere on YouTube Red subscription service this year.
Watch PewDiePie’s video announcing the launch of Revelmode: