About six months ago we profiled The Top 25 YouTube Influencers who have established Personal Empires. Sitting atop that list, by some considerable margin, was PewDiePie, aka Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg.
2017 was a troubled year for PewDiePie. He never seemed to be far away from controversy or being accused of offending somebody. Being in the spotlight affected his popularity to some extent. His channel shed 2 million subscribers before bouncing back to its current 59.2 million subscribers.
But while a short-term loss of 2 million subscribers may have worried a more mortal YouTuber, PewDiePie is unlikely to have lost any sleep. He is still 26 million above second place HolaSoyGerman. He must also be happy at the moment, with the attention moving away from his controversies to those of Logan Poole.
Here's an interesting tool to estimate how much his videos are worth
Estimated Total Earnings by Channel
Estimated Total Earnings by Video
With a colossal fan base and a YouTube channel in its eighth year, PewDiePie is likely to be in a healthy financial position. But how healthy? What is PewDiePie’s net worth in 2018?
PewDiePie's Net Worth:
PewDiePie’s Most Successful Years
PewDiePie’s popularity grew steadily between 2010 and 2011. He reached 60,000 subscribers by December 2011. His channel’s growth intensified over 2012, and he reached 1 million subscribers in July 2012, doubling to 2 million by that September. He signed with Maker Studios in December 2012, and presumably, money started flowing in.
His fanbase reached 5 million in February 2013. That June he overtook Jenna Marbles to become YouTube’s second most popular channel, with an incredible 10 million followers.
PewDiePie took the coveted Number 1 position on YouTube, from Smosh, on 15 August 2013. He became the first YouTube channel to reach 15 million subscribers on 1 November 2013.
The Wall Street Journal estimated his 2013 earnings to be $4 million. He later spoke about this estimate in a video, confirming that it was reasonably accurate.
PewDiePie was able to diversify in 2014, including streaming videos of a co-hosted series, BroKen, on MLG.tv. He also gained another 14 million subscribers during 2014.
He continued varying his online activities in 2015 and 2016. Many of these were money-making. It was at this point that he created his channel on the YouTube paid service, YouTube Red.
He released a book, This Book Loves You in late October 2015.
By the end of 2016, PewDiePie enjoyed a previously unheard of 50 million subscribers.
PewDiePie’s Doomladen 2017
While there can be no doubt that PewDiePie’s Net Worth skyrocketed over the 2013-2016 period, it will have stalled somewhat after a troublesome and controversial 2017.
The year began with him losing his Number One position for Total Video Views to Indian record label, T-series. T-Series currently has 20.2 billion total views, much more than PewDiePie’s 15.7 million. Indeed, PewDie is also close to being overtaken by Justin Bieber;’s official Vevo channel, for Video Views.
PewDiePie attracted much criticism for some of his non-PC comments in his videos in 2017. Controversies continued throughout the year, but the most prominent was when he paid a couple of people on Fiverr to display the message “Death to all Jews” on a banner in the background to one of his videos.
He seemed to be continually on the back foot defending allegations of racism.
The Wall Street Journal took a particular interest in PewDiePie’s case, reporting on the incident. He faced many accusations of racism throughout the year.
Disney-owned Maker Studios cut their ties with him early in 2017, and he has not been part of a multi-channel network since. Google dropped him from their Google Preferred advertising program and canceled his “Scare PewDiePie” YouTube Red series. These actions will have slowed his income-making abilities.
Estimates of PewDiePie’s Net Worth
Clearly, the only person who knows PewDiePie’s net worth is Felix, himself. However, there have been many attempts made to estimate it over the last few years. His income rose each year 2010 until 2016, by which time Forbes estimated he was YouTube’s highest earner, taking in $15 million that year.
Forbes believes that PewDiePie still managed to earn 12 million in 2017, despite the negative publicity directed at him. He still managed to rank Number 6 on their list of highest YouTube earners for 2017.
Although he is best known for his YouTube videos, PewDiePie also has substantial followings on Twitter (14.3 million followers) and Instagram ( 13.5 million followers), both of which will help his influencer marketing earnings. He also operates an online store selling t shirts, long-sleeve shirts, hats, and hoodies to his fanbase.
Online estimates of PewDiePie’s net worth vary. This should be no surprise – they are only estimates. While people have found it relatively simple to predict his income, it is harder to know how much he has spent over the years. There also seems to be differences of opinion over his taxes tax treatment over the years.
Coed predicts his Net Worth at the beginning of 2018 to be $61 million (from combined earnings of $124 million since 2010). They estimate that he has cleared at least $9 million a year from advertising earnings on his YouTube channel. He will, of course, have taken a small tumble, with the loss of Google Preferred advertising status and rates.
Fraghero provides detailed calculations of how a professional MBA arrived at a predicted Net Worth for PewDiePie of $30 million. This includes eight years worth of YouTube advertisements, brand deals, affiliate relationships, and his personally-branded merchandise. They also recognize that he has made several generous donations to charity over the years.
Celebs Net Worth Now believe that his net worth is smaller - $25 million, although they don’t explain how they came by this calculation.
The Net Worth Portal is even less generous in their (documented) estimates. Their best prediction for PewDiePie’s Net Worth is $21 million – still not insubstantial.
PewDiePie Proves that You Can Make a Good Living Online
Regardless of who has produced the most accurate estimate of PewDiePie’s net worth, the fact remains that he is living proof that you can make a fortune from being a famous online personality. Some would argue he makes good money from being unpopular, too.
Probably the best lesson to be learned from PewDiePie’s 2017, is that in hard times you can often ride with the punches and survive. PewDiePie upset many people. But the people he offended were not generally the people who followed him. The fact that he only suffered a blip to his subscribers, and now has more than he had before the troubles, emphasizes this.
Maker Studios is owned by family-friendly, Disney. They were never going to be a match made in Heaven for PewDiePie’s edgy and irreverent humor. PewDiePie's’ fanbase is, and have always been, rebels; people who are more anti-establishment than politically correct. The advertisers who left in protest were never a good fit for his audience.
It will be intriguing to see where PewDiePie moves from here. There is probably a limit to his YouTube growth – there are only so many of the type of people who like his kind of humor online.
He has made no rush to move to another multichannel network. Could that change in 2018?
If you look at the history of the “old media” – television – you see that most series begin to splutter by the time of their seventh or eighth seasons. Not many shows last for more years than that.
Will PewDiePie prove that “new media” stars have longer staying power than their old-school predecessors?
Of course, with a Net Worth like PewDiePie has, he could retire nicely tomorrow, depending on the investment advice suggested by his army of accountants. He has plenty of opportunities to branch into new fields and increase his Net Worth even higher.
“My parents said that sitting at home playing video games all day won’t bring you anywhere in life.” – PewDiePie.
I wonder how they feel about their son’s achievements now.