The three YouTubers of the Watcher channel sitting on a couch with money logos in the background

Watcher/YouTube Malinovskaya Yulia/Shutterstock (Licensed)

Watcher Entertainment backpedals after subscription model snafu

The group apologized after announcing it was leaving YouTube to launch a subscription streaming service.


Steven Asarch


Posted on Apr 22, 2024   Updated on Apr 23, 2024, 12:46 pm CDT


On April 19, YouTube channel Watcher Entertaiment announced that it would be moving off the platform to its own paid subscription video service. Fans were so unhappy, that three days later, Watcher issued an apology.

The announcement video, “Goodbye YouTube,” has over 1.7 million views. In it, members Steven Lim, Shane Madej, and Ryan Bergara share that they struggled to make high-quality content while working within YouTube’s algorithmic ecosystem.

“It’s difficult to make the stuff that we want to make and then also appeal to their advertisers,” Lim said. 

Its April 22 follow-up, “An Update,” features the trio looking solemn (almost as much as their fellow BuzzFeed alums, the Try Guys, did in their infamous couch apology video.)

In the update, the Watcher team gives an apology for how they “delivered” their goodbye message. They added that “it was insensitive” and said they “will be taking it as a serious learning experience.” 

In addition, Watcher announced that its videos would be posted to the Watcher app a month early but then uploaded to YouTube, in order to provide a more accessible viewing option for fans who can’t afford the new streaming service. Patreon subscribers will also get a free subscription. 

What is Watcher Entertainment?

The Watcher trio made a name for themselves on BuzzFeed nearly a decade ago. Their viral series included “BuzzFeed Unsolved,” where they discussed open and confusing cases, and its spinoff “BuzzFeed Unsolved Paranormal,” where they hunt ghosts.

Eventually, the group realized they had working formats and an audience. So they spun off into their own YouTube channel and production company, Watcher Entertainment.

Watcher started in 2019 and was an immediate success. It pulled in hundreds of thousands of views, and it retooled many of the group’s previously successful formats refined through BuzzFeed’s giant platform. 

But after five years, Madej said in the initial announcement video that the group “hit a bit of a ceiling on what YouTube has to offer.” So, they decided to launch their own subscription streaming service. …

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*First Published: Apr 22, 2024, 2:48 pm CDT