The comedian, game vlogger and meme aficionado, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, is also the most-subscribed individual YouTube creator, currently with 102 million followers. Indeed, PewDiePie’s video views for the year were boosted by the months-long running battle stoked by Kjellberg and his fans to keep his sub count ahead of India’s T-Series music channel (which has since surpassed PewDiePie).
YouTube released the top 10 most-viewed creators ranking as part of its year-in-review compilations, which culminates in the 2019 YouTube Rewind mashup released Thursday — which does feature PewDiePie this year.
After PewDiePie, the most-viewed YouTube creators of 2019 are: Brazilian vlogger Felipe Neto (2.8 billion); animation channel Pencilmation (2.8 billion); Dutch gaming creator Jelly (2.5 billion); David Dobrik (2.4 billion); trick-shot artists Dude Perfect (2.3 billion); creator-philanthropist MrBeast (2.2 billion); Australian gamer LazarBeam (2 billion); Fischer’s, a seven-member Japanese vlog crew (1.9 billion); and Canadian cosplayer-gamer AzzyLand (1.9 billion).
PewDiePie has been masterful at cultivating his fanbase, and produces a popular regular series, “Meme Review.” Most recently, he weighed in on the Baby Yoda, and with characteristic bluster said he would eat the tiny green alien from Disney Plus’ “The Mandalorian” to get rid of the meme. Also popular on PewDiePie’s channel this year was a film documenting the wedding of Kjellberg and his longtime girlfriend Marzia. (Last week, Marzia Kjellberg said in an Instagram post that thieves broke into their house and stole “90% of my valuables.”)
A recent study found that PewDiePie has a higher favorability rating than NBA superstar LeBron James among Gen Z males in the U.S. PewDiePie and Lebron James have the same level of name recognition (95%) among Gen Z males, but more of them (62%) have a favorable view of PewDiePie than James (55%), per the Morning Consult survey.
PewDiePie’s popularity continues unabated in spite of — or perhaps because of — the fact that he has been the subject of ongoing controversies, including past criticism of his anti-Semitic jokes that Kjellberg acknowledged had gone too far.
After the mosque attacker in the mass killings in Christchurch, New Zealand called out the “subscribe to PewDiePie” meme in his live-streamed video, Kjellberg said he felt “the responsibility to do something about it.” In September, the Swedish-born YouTuber announced that he would be donating $50,000 to the Anti-Defamation League anti-hate group in a video unveiling his YouTube Red Diamond Creator Award, a new honor for channels that have hit the 100 million subscriber mark. But a day later backtracked and said his initial decision was a “mistake” and that the contribution didn’t “feel genuine.”