Anyone familiar with YouTube will know that one creator has dominated the platform for the past 5 years as the most-subscribed to channel. PewDiePie, one of the most talked-about gamers in the world, has held onto his position as King of YouTube since 2013, but that crown has been severely threatened in the last few months by a media giant, and although the influencer is hanging on, the battle is far from over.
Post Updated: 01/18/2019 9.30am PT (we will be updating in real-time so please return to see the latest stats) When we first reported the news in October 2018, PewDiePie’s lead over Indian Media company T-Series was down to just 93,844 subscribers. But since then, there’s has been an extraordinary rally from his fans and followers to increase that margin by a considerable amount. The creator had widened the subscriber gap by over a million but now it stands at just 197,831. Once again the Bollywood music channel looks on course to surpass PewDiePie’s 81.2M subscribers in the next few days – and that news is again causing quite the stir. Using exclusive data, we can confirm the following for each creator over the past few months:
- In December 2018, PewDiePie was the 8th most viewed influencer in the world with 499M YouTube views. up 23 places from the previous month
- Since the 1st October 2018, he has generated a staggering 1.3B YouTube views, and 90M YouTube engagements
- In November 2018, PewDiePie become the first YouTuber to reach 70 million subscribers
- In December 2018, the influencer became the first YouTube channel to break through the 80M subscriber mark
- He had his biggest spike in subscriber followers on 3rd December 2018 with 541,133 new followers
- In December 2018, T-Series was the 6th most viewed property in the world, just behind WarnerMedia & Disney, with 4.5B YouTube views
- In December 2018, T-Series had the most viewed video in the world – ‘Aankh Marey’ from the Bollywood Movie Simmba generated 305M YouTube views
- In Fact, 5 of the 20 most watched videos in the world last month were uploaded to the T-Series YouTube channel
- Between 10/01/18 and 01/18/19 T-Series has generated 9.7B YouTube views and increased subscribers by 16.9M
Looking at the rate of subscriber growth since October 2019, T-Series has the lead on PewDiePie in terms of numbers, but fluctuations in growth have benefitted the influencer and allowed him to maintain that lead. It’s also important to note that in December 2018, YouTube removed a large number of spamming subscribers from the platform. As a result, PewDiePie and T-Series both lost subscribers from their channels on that date.
The Race to the Top of YouTube
So, let’s recap what’s happened over the past few months to lead us to this point. In a twist to the expected crowning of T-Series as the most subscribed to YouTube channel, fans of PewDiePie have rallied hard to put the creator firmly back in the lead. There have been a number of stunts by fans – as well as pleas from the creator himself – to push the gap as wide as possible. Highlights from this sustained and entertaining campaign include a surreal printer hack urging people to subscribe to PewDiePie’s YouTube channel, and a grassroots appeal to infamous hacking group Project Zorgo to delete T-Series content from the platform. One particularly enthusiastic fan, MrBeast, invested in some major on and off-line promotion of the Swedish gamer, encouraging others to subscribe to keep T-Series off the top spot. PewDiePie himself took to Twitter to ask fans if they were “doing their part” and to acknowledge the efforts of MrBeast.
December 2nd 2018 PewDiePie Tweet: As the gap shrunk between the two channels, the creator tweeted out to his fans “It looks like this is it bois,” which generated a whirlwind of press attention. On the same day, fellow gamer Markiplier hosted a stream titled “I Literally Won’t Shut Up Until You Subscribe To PewDiePie,” gaining over 3.3 million views and 46,000 comments. On this date, PewDiePie also uploaded a video addressing the printer hack – within 24 hours, the video accumulated upwards of 7.6 million views and 73,700 comments.
December 27th 2018: PewDiePie Rewind: In December, YouTube released its annual ‘Rewind’ recap which failed to include some of the biggest names and stories from the platform in 2018, including PewDiePie. It soon became the most the most-disliked video in YouTube history. PewDiePie delighted fans by issuing his own Rewind response on the 27th of the month, which has become his most viewed video in the last 90 days with 43.5M views (25.2M in the first 3 days after upload), and 8.3M engagements.
January 8th 2019: Fellow YouTuber Billy Crammer releases an epic movie trailer based on the PewDiePie/T-Series rivalry. The video generates a great deal of press around the topic.
PewDiePie vs T-Series
PewDiePie has built up a phenomenal following among young male fans on the platform (his audience skews towards males aged 18-24 years old) with an unending stream of gaming commentary content. Although lately, the creator has diversified into a more broader range of entertainment videos. His presence now reaches far beyond YouTube (he is active on Twitter, Facebook, Twitch, and Instagram), and as his popularity has grown among his ‘Bro Army’ fans, his currency as a leading figure in 21st Century pop culture has put him at the center of a series of controversies – none of which have severely dented his image with fans, followers, and the media.
He’s a true maverick who has paved the way for thousands of other influencers to build their brand on YouTube. He’s uploaded over 4,100 videos since 2010 which have generated over just under 19B views. His most viewed video in the past 365 days was this commentary on another controversial YouTube figure, Logan Paul, which has generated a total of 30.6M YouTube views, 14.9M of which were in the first 3 days after upload, according to Tubular’s V3 metric.
T-Series is a major music and film production company based in India, that has built up a solid following by uploading a deluge of music videos and film trailers to their YouTube channel. The channel has been active since 2006 has been growing at a very steady rate until it exploded in popularity over the past couple of years. Now it’s set to topple arguably the world’s most famous independent creator and become the most-watched media company on the platform. T-Series have uploaded over 13K videos to YouTube, with this music video from Guru Randhawa generating 603M YouTube views, with a V3 of 13.6M.
The October data growth isn’t a surprise to industry experts, as subscribers to the T-Series YouTube channel have been on a fast upward trajectory all year. We can confirm that T-Series has gained 40.3 million subscribers in the past 365 days (that’s an average of 3.4 million per month), while PewDiePie’s YouTube channel has grown by 9.7 million (an average of 808,000 per month). Tubular Labs has been measuring daily subscriber growth numbers for both T-Series’ and PewDiePie’s channels in October, and found that the former is out-gaining the latter by an average of over 90,000 new subscribers per day (119,565 vs. 29,465).