His YouTube channel has over 38 million subscribers, which is slightly more than the entire population of Canada.
On average, his 10-minute long videos generate about 5 million views each.
For us though, his work is awful and largely unwatchable. But even though our personal image of hell would include a PewDiePie video on repeat, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a significant amount of value in learning what exactly makes this content so successful.
Firstly however, let’s understand exactly what PreDiePie is sharing.
PewDiePie videos feature PewDiePie playing video games, while giving his rather unique commentary on the game play as you see it on screen. Simple right?
Here’s an example:
Just a reminder – that 38 million subscribers who are very keen to follow this channel at its megastar.
But why is it so popular? Here are a few thoughts:
1. Gaming is huge: However big you currently think gaming to be, multiply that by 1000 and you’re probably not close. It’s a massive industry with millions of fans all hooked up to connected devices. The potential audience size is very large
2. Super niche: The worst idea for the focus of any content is to choose to compete in a arena where you are sure to fail.
So, for example, writing yet another car review blog is silly because there are millions of car review blogs and the chances of yours being the best and most desired, is little to none. But if you know there is a market for car information online, but you super niche yourself within that realm, your chances of finding an audience that like your take on the subject are much higher.
PewDiePie is a super niche contributor in the huge world of gaming, his channel is essentially competing in a universe of one. He has no competition.
3. Entertainment or utility: When packaging value online, you are either offering entertainment or functional utility – anything in-between is pretty much nowhere.
PewDiePie is pure entertainment. He doesn’t try to give a serious functional review of video games cause he’ll probably suck at it.
4. Perspective: 38 million may seem like a lot, but just to put that into perspective for a second, consider this. There are roughly 3 billion people with access to the Internet worldwide. 38 million is just an audience of 0.03% of that universe. When you think of it like that – there are easily 0.03% of people in the connected world that could find this guy’s particular brand of crazy attractive. Easily.
The main point here is, that when gatekeepers still existing (that was back before the Internet), the thinking around successful content was to create a product that appealed to as broad a market as possible. Think of how traditional print magazines used to try and have ‘something for everyone’.
That traditional content model online doesn’t work, because too many ‘something for everyone’ titles exist and the most successful ones can aggregate and churn much faster and better than the other millions that are competing with it.
What you want to be focusing on is competing in a universe of one, producing content that nobody else can and developing a voice that is as unique and unusual as you are.
* – video blogger or YouTube content creator