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YouTube and PewDiePie aren't breaking up anytime soon


This massive popularity means that we shouldn’t expect to see PewDiePie abandon YouTube anytime soon, despite the fact that he was complaining about the platform even before last week’s dustup. Similarly, YouTube didn’t take the stronger step of banning PewDiePie after his anti-Semitic videos, even though he probably did indeed violate the site’s terms of service. PewDiePie is too valuable to YouTube and YouTube too valuable to PewDiePie for this couple to really break up.

Kjellberg said he made $7 million in 2014, and Forbes estimated that he made $12 million in 2015, thanks to his YouTube Red series as well as his book, which came out that year. Even though his earnings will likely decline as a result of his YouTube breakup, it’s still good business for him to stay on the platform and keep doing what he does. In the short term, it doesn’t seem his popularity has been affected by all of this bad attention. Indeed, his Facebook and YouTube pages are filled with the sort of “screw the haters” commentary you might expect from people who don’t mind Nazi jokes.

Sure, Kjellberg could head to a new platform and get some attention for doing so — Facebook, with its video push, would be a logical destination. But there’s no guarantee that his millions of followers would automatically follow him. He’d definitely suffer a viewership decline in the short term, and maybe forever. That translates into more money left on the table. As much of an issue as Pewds might have with YouTube, it’s probably not severe enough to go through the trouble and cost of establishing his brand somewhere else.

As for YouTube’s role in this, it’s no surprise that it dropped PewDiePie’s show and removed him from Google Preferred. But it’s also not surprising that the company didn’t take a stronger action. His channel is not only the most popular out there but also No. 1 by a huge margin. (This list is unofficial, but it checks out — YouTube itself doesn’t publicly release its most popular channels.) The second most popular channel, HolaSoyGerman, has 31 million followers. And PewDiePie’s is the only independently run channel in the top 10.