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50 million and out: PewDiePie to delete YouTube channel in protest at changes - or due to fans?

International Business Times logo International Business Times 5/12/2016 Alex Taylor

PewDiePie YouTube © YouTube: PewDiePie PewDiePie YouTube YouTube star PewDiePie insists he will delete his record-breaking channel at 50 million subscribers in protest at the website's new algorithms, amid suggestions he is also frustrated at catering to an increasingly younger audience.

The 27-year old Swedish, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, began his channel in 2010 and become the most-subscribed YouTuber in August 2013, thanks to his loyal following known as the "Bro Army".

However, the content creator, who rose to fame with Let's Play videos and other humorous gaming content, has now lashed out at the company that made him famous. He is protesting about new algorithms that allegedly inadvertently limit the number of views that channel owners receive, thereby reducing their income.

Kjellberg took to YouTube to explain his frustrations and revealed he would delete his channel upon reaching the 50 million milestone. Striking a deadly serious tone, the normally fun-loving star branded YouTube "a toddler playing with knives" for corrupting the effectiveness of the recommended videos feature. The producer also suggested the subscription feature had become faulty, with some users being unsubscribed without their knowledge.

"YouTube is trying to kill my channel. It is clear. It is happening if you watch my analytics. It is all going down," he told 49.5 million subscribers in the new video.

"I've decided the only way to stop my channel from dying - I know you are going to think I am joking - but I am going to delete my channel.

"I think it's gonna be pretty fun, I'm excited to delete my channel and start fresh with a new sh***y channel probably. I won't quit YouTube, I'll just delete the channel."

The explosion of frustration follows a long list of premium creators growing increasingly exasperated with website changes. Fellow vlogger JackSepticEye claimed that these issues, which YouTube continues to deny, have accounted for a 30 to 40% dip in usual viewing figures.

But, away from viewing figures alone, it has also been suggested that Kjellberg is growing tired of his PewDiePie persona, particularly the need to cater for the increasingly youthful audience his fame attracts as viewing habits among children shift further online each generation.

Expressing sadness at having to remould his content, Kotaku report the online celebrity as saying "I think the thing is that I have a lot of younger audience [members], and I think my humour got drier, and they don't get it."

Faced with the prospect of mutiny amongst their most commercially successful stars, YouTube reiterated that no issues had been found following a full investigation.

"Some creators have expressed concerns around a drop in their subscriber numbers," a YouTube spokesperson told Mashable in a statement. "We've done an extensive review and found there have been no decreases in creators' subscriber numbers beyond what normally happens when viewers either unsubscribe from a creator's channel or when YouTube removes spammed subscribers. We do the latter to ensure that all creator subscriber numbers are accurate."

Forbes named PewDiePie the top-earning YouTube star on the planet after earning $12m (£9m) in 2015.

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