You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Review: ‘Scare PewDiePie’ on YouTube Red

With: PewDiePie

YouTube Red might sound like a premium beer, but it’s actually the site’s attempt to horn in on the premium-TV space, by introducing its own subscription service. Yet the opening salvo of what amounts to a rather soft launch, with a trio of youth-oriented movies and one series, “Scare PewDiePie,” has a decidedly not-ready-for-primetime feel. Granted, the latter sort of looks like a reality TV show, albeit perhaps the 12th-best series on Spike or TruTV. What it doesn’t resemble is anything that its target demo ought to be in a hurry to pay to access.

The term “YouTube star” might seem a tad oxymoronic – part of the allure of these personalities is that they’re not part of the coddled Hollywood crowd – but within his universe, PewDiePie (a.k.a. Felix Kjellberg) clearly merits the designation. Still, the comic has come to this venture in a vehicle that, while simple enough to market, doesn’t bring much new to the party compared to his free videos that amass million of views online.

At 21 minutes, “Scare PewDiePie” possesses the same volume of content as a half-hour series sans commercials. Yet there’s almost nothing to it, based on the episode previewed, in which he promises his “Bro Army” that they’re “about to watch me get the absolute s—t scared out of me.”

Not really. Sure, PewDiePie cusses and screams a lot, facing situations inspired by video games. But the ordeal to which he’s ostensibly subjected in this shot-on-a-shoestring series doesn’t look a whole lot scarier than one of those mazes at Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights. Even with a relentless barrage of spooky sound effects and funky camera angles – and a creative pedigree that includes producers from “The Walking Dead” – it’s hard to imagine anything but the most committed bros being anything but bored.

YouTube obviously has a distinctive programming niche, one that cuts against the grain of traditional television. In terms of the larger TV game, though, this initial salvo simply makes the company look like a neophyte, mistaking exclusive content for premium fare – especially with streaming services like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu stepping up their efforts and ambitions.

It’s fine, obviously, to offer younger consumers an alternative, and zig where everyone else zags; still, cut-rate movies and a TV show that could easily be plucked from late-night basic cable hardly give an audience with such an abundance of choices a strong motive to ante up.

Again, this is just a start. But if YouTube Red ever wants to break into the black, it will likely need to provide its bros more bang for their bucks than this.

Review: 'Scare PewDiePie' on YouTube Red

(Series; YouTube Red, Feb. 10)

Production: Produced by Skybound Entertainment and Maker Studios.

Crew: Executive producers, Bonnie Pan, Amy Finnerty, Rachel Skidmore, Kevin Healey, Robert Kirkman, David Alpert. 21 MIN.

Cast: With: PewDiePie

More Digital

  • The Secret Life of Pets 2

    ‘The Secret Life of Pets 2’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, Universal Pictures claims the top spot in spending with “The Secret Life of Pets 2.” Ads placed for the animated film had an estimated media value of $11.52 million through Sunday for 869 national ad airings [...]

  • Cory-Haik-Vice

    Vice Media Hires Cory Haik, Former Mic Publisher, as Chief Digital Officer (EXCLUSIVE)

    Vice Media has recruited Cory Haik, former publisher of digital news start-up Mic, as chief digital officer to lead the youth-culture company’s global internet businesses. Haik will be based at Vice’s Brooklyn headquarters and report to CEO Nancy Dubuc. She most recently worked at Mic, which last fall laid off virtually its entire staff before [...]

  • Snapchat logos

    Porn Studio Starts Building X-Rated Snapchat Lenses, Encourages Users to Do the Same

    Adult entertainment company Naughty America wants to use augmented reality to get the word out about its paid services. The company has begun to make Snapchat lenses featuring some of its models, and is teaching its audience to do the same. Naughty America shared three such lenses on its website (link not safe for work) [...]

  • New, Likely Cheaper Galaxy Home Speaker

    Samsung Is Getting Ready to Introduce Second Smart Speaker

    Samsung still isn’t selling its Galaxy Home smart speaker, but the company may be getting ready to introduce a second model soon: An FCC filing for an “AI speaker” suggests that the new model, like the original Galaxy Home, will be dual-branded, featuring both Samsung’s own brand name as well as that of its audio [...]

  • Streaming Placeholder

    TikTok Owner Preparing Streaming Service to Rival Spotify (Report)

    ByteDance, the Beijing-based owner of the TikTok video app, is developing a paid streaming music service aimed at the same emerging markets that Spotify and Apple are seeking to explore, according to a report in Bloomberg. The app could be introduced as early as autumn, according to the report, which adds that the company has [...]

  • VidCon-Now-Stacey-Kelly

    VidCon Launches First Original Series to Promote Creators Year-Round

    VidCon brings together thousands of fervent fans at its annual conventions, who flock to the events to see their favorite YouTubers and other digital celebs in the flesh. Now the Viacom-owned division is trying to keep the excitement burning during the VidCon off-season, too. This week VidCon is launching its first foray into original content [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content