January 16, 2021

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YouTube’s Top Creator PewDiePie Is Coming To Facebook

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YouTube creator PewDiePie has a massive 107 million subscribers. His videos have been watched over 26 billion times. And he’s now coming to Facebook, says the co-founder of Jellysmack, the company making it happen.

“I think it’s a huge deal … he’s the biggest YouTube creator,” Michael Philippe told me today on the TechFirst podcast. “He’s part of … internet culture at this point … it means that we are really now in a multiplatform ecosystem, which was really not the case a few years ago.”

Phillipe is the co-founder of Jellysmack. With more than 100 creators, 10 billion monthly video views, and reach of 125 million unique viewers in the United States alone, Jellysmack shows more videos to more people than Comcast, WarnerMedia, Buzzfeed, and Fox. Jellysmack has signed an exclusive deal with PewDiePie (pronounced pew-dee-pie, real name Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg) to bring his content to Facebook viewers.

Why?

Multiple reasons, including money.

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“The creators we work with right now, most of them now make more money on Facebook than they make on YouTube,” Philippe says. “When you have the right tools and the right technology and the right content and everything, the reality is you can make much, much, much more money sometimes on Facebook, than you can make on YouTube.”

People underestimate Facebook for video monetization, Philippe says, perhaps because it’s newer at video and perhaps because YouTube and Twitch have many more streamers and video creators. (See also: YouTube And Facebook Destroy Twitch In At Least One Critical Livestreaming Category.)

While PewDiePie (Kjellberg) is coming to Facebook, he’s not leaving YouTube. And his videos will first debut on YouTube as they currently do: generally via live streaming. Then Jellysmack will select the right videos for a Facebook audience and optimize them for the Facebook platform. Generally, that means somewhat shorter: people watch longer videos on YouTube.

Listen to the interview behind this story:

It may also mean focusing on different elements that appeal to a different audience.

“That’s what our technology does,” Philippe says. “We know … out of his huge library of videos, which are the videos that are going to be successful on the platform.”

Unlike scenarios where platforms essentially buy creators to win audience — think Spotify locking up Joe Rogan’s podcast for $100 million — this is not an attempt to drag an audience away from YouTube.

Rather, it’s a focus on building PewDiePie’s overall audience.

“There is only 19% overlap between YouTube and Facebook Watch,” Philippe says, citing Tubular Labs — the Nielsen of social media — data.

In addition, it’s likely a play to avoid being overly platform dependent. Creators who get huge on one platform have a single point of failure if a platform gets banned (TikTok in India) or loses popularity (Vine) or gets shut down by its owner (Periscope). They’re also vulnerable to cancel culture, if they make mistakes or become offensive.

(Which PewDiePie has, to some extent, done. He incorporated anti-Semitic content into a number of his videos, among other missteps, for which he has apologized and stepped back from.)

That’s, of course, the defensive view, Philippe is quick to point out. Becoming multi-platform is also important to maximize the spread and reach of creators’ content and brand. Why just stick to one platform, after all, when you can get in front of billions more people on all the big outlets?

Jellysmack’s role is making it easy.

PewDiePie (and other creators) can simply focus on creating great content. Jellysmack will tailor that creative for each different platform. Doing so, the company says, unlocks 25 million to 300 million incremental views each month for creators. That’s a key reason, likely, why many of the 100 or so creators on the Jellysmack platform are “making six figures per month” on Facebook alone.

What’s the key to great content?

“What we learned from previous failure is that premium content doesn’t mean well-produced content,” Philippe told me. “Premium content on short form is authentic content and content that drives engagement. And that’s why you can’t build a platform without creators. And that’s why TikTok is winning because ultimately TikTok is a creators platform.”

The exclusive global deal has been signed.

PewDiePie’s content will begin appearing on Facebook “as early as this month,” Jellysmack says.

One question: is this the future of media? Of celebrity and influence, and of studios?

“Creators are going to keep growing really, really fast,” Philippe says. “And so you’re going to see more and more platforms and more and more ways for them to monetize their audience. So that’s what we’re seeing with Patreon and Only Fans. And it’s going to take multiple different shapes.”

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