The most popular content creator on YouTube has hit back at viewers complaining about YouTube Red, the new $10 per month subscription service. In a Tumblr post, Felix Kjellberg (PewDiePie) said the ad-free service is a direct response to the growing number of viewers using adblock.
Using his channel as an example, Kjellberg said that ad-blocking has risen from 15-20 percent to 40 percent in the past two years. That 40 percent cut has kept YouTube unprofitable, as it seeks to balance server costs with advertising income.
Kjellberg isn’t bothered that people use adblock on his channel, but says for smaller channels it is devastating. It is part of the reason why several YouTubers have moved to Patreon or started native advertising (partnering with companies for sponsored videos) to fund their channels.
The YouTube superstar also claims a lot of viewers don’t understand how bad adblock is for the industry, showing a few tweets from unconcerned viewers that claim they wouldn’t pay for Red when adblock is free. That might be something YouTube needs to hammer away at — making viewers understand that adblock is hurting creators.
YouTube Red offers ad-free video viewing, offline and background videos, and music streaming. Creators receive the same slice of the pie — 55 percent — for each view. The hope is viewers who are unhappy with adverts pay for the subscription, helping content creators instead of taking away their income.
Features like a family account could do wonders for YouTube Red, considering Kjellberg’s main audience is 13-19 year olds who are most likely not going to be able to afford the service. The new show ‘Scary PewDiePie,’ directed by the producer of The Walking Dead, might also be a way to draw Kjellberg’s audience into paying for the service. It follows the same premise of Netflix’s original programming, offering content unavailable on any other streaming platform behind a subscription.