PewDiePie signs exclusive live-streaming deal with YouTube

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PewDiePieImage source, Getty Images
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PewDiePie is the most-followed independent video-maker on YouTube

Gaming star PewDiePie has signed an exclusive deal to live-stream on YouTube, after switching to a rival platform in 2019.

PewDiePie, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, is YouTube's biggest independent video-maker with more than 104 million subscribers.

But he signed an exclusive deal with rival platform Dlive in 2019.

Mr Kjellberg said returning to YouTube was a "natural fit" as he looked for new ways to connect with fans.

The 30-year-old Swedish video-maker began posting videos on YouTube in 2010.

He found success playing and commenting on video games, posting daily videos for several years.

But in 2019, he announced he would no longer be live-streaming on YouTube and would instead move to Dlive, which promised better financial returns for its content creators.

He gained 822,000 followers on the new platform.

In January 2020, PewDiePie took a short break from making YouTube videos because he was "feeling very tired", but he continued posting his regular videos on YouTube after his break.

Streaming wars

The big video-streaming giants have been battling to secure exclusive deals with popular video-makers.

Earlier this year, YouTube signed gamers Valkyrae, Muselk and LazarBeam to its platform.

In a statement, PewDiePie said new features played a part in his decision to return to live-streaming on YouTube.

"Live-streaming is something I'm focusing a lot on in 2020 and beyond, so to be able to partner with YouTube and be at the forefront of new product features is special and exciting for the future," he said.

Controversial moments

PewDiePie's rise to stardom has not been without its controversial moments.

The decision came after several videos he had released were found to contain Nazi references or anti-Semitic imagery.

Mr Kjellberg accepted the material was offensive, but said he did not support "any kind of hateful attitudes".

He stressed that the material was included as a joke, which should have been clear from the context.

"Though this was not my intention, I understand that these jokes were ultimately offensive," he said.

A second series of Mr Kjellberg's show Scare PewDiePie was also dropped from YouTube Red, Google's subscription video platform.

Later that year, he used a racial slur during a live-stream. PewDiePie apologised for the incident.

Commenting on his return to live-streaming on YouTube, the company said PewDiePie's previous comments were "not in line with our values".

"Were he to violate our policies today, we'd take action accordingly just as we would with any other creator," a company spokesperson said.