×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

PewDiePie Zooms Past 73 Million YouTube Subscribers as Fans Rally to Keep Him Ahead of T-Series

PewDiePie and his supporters are fighting hard to keep him the No. 1 most-subscribed YouTuber on the platform.

In recent weeks, PewDiePie’s five-year reign as the YouTube creator with the most subscribers on the platform has been threatened by T-Series, an Indian entertainment conglomerate whose YouTube channel features music videos. On Sunday, T-Series’ subscriber count came within less than 50,000 of surpassing PewDiePie, the online handle of game-focused vlogger Felix Kjellberg.

Then PewDiePie got a new boost from Markiplier, another popular game-focused YouTuber (real name: Mark Fischbach). In a live-streamed, telethon-style video Sunday, Markiplier urged his own 22 million subscribers to subscribe to PewDiePie.

Markiplier issued a nearly messianic (but clearly tongue-in-cheek) call to action. “Do your part! This isn’t just about you. This isn’t just about me. This is about what’s right,” Markiplier breathlessly intoned said in the video, titled, “I Literally Won’t Shut Up Until You Subscribe To PewDiePie.”

As of Monday morning, PewDiePie’s YouTube channel had about 73.6 million subscribers — up 4.4 million in just the last 30 days. T-Series currently has 73.3 million subs.

The underlying message from PewDiePie and his followers: Don’t let a corporate entity like T-Series beat an independent creator who ostensibly represents YouTube’s founding ethos. “This is about respect and I respect the fact that PewDiePie needs to have more subscribers than T-Series,” Markiplier said in the video.

Efforts by Kjellberg’s supporters to rally users to subscribe to his channel have included buying ads and posting fliers, including in India, as illustrated in PewDiePie’s shout-outs in this Nov. 6 video. Backers have included MrBeast — the YouTube handle of Jimmy Donaldson, who has made a name by making large donations to other creators — and YouTuber Justin Roberts of Jake Paul’s Team 10, who claimed he bought a $1 million Times Square billboard promoting PewDiePie.

The pro-PewDiePie campaign took an especially bizarre turn last week: A hacker claims to have hijacked 50,000 internet-connected printers to spit out messages urging people to subscribe to PewDiePie and unsubscribe from T-Series. In the printout, the guerrilla hacker complained that T-Series “simply uploads video of Bollywood trailers and songs.”

Subscriber counts obviously reflect YouTube channels’ popularity and earning power. But it’s not clear whether PewDiePie’s millions of new followers will deliver a commensurate long-term lift for him, or if they’re just subscribing as part of the thrill of the chase.

PewDiePie has treated the rivalry with T-Series as something of a game — and, naturally, it has become fodder for more content (and views) on his YouTube channel.

In October, PewDiePie posted a song dissing T-Series called “Bitch Lasagna” whose lyrics include “Sit the f— down T-Series / I’m here to spill the real tea / You tryna dethrone me from spot on number one / But you India, you lose, so best think you haven’t won.” The video has more than 50 million views, and the track has been covered by several fans.

Kjellberg, who is 29, has courted controversy with weird pranks. In 2017, he lost business deals with Disney’s Maker Studios and YouTube after staging an anti-Semitic “joke,” which Kjellberg apologized for, saying “I admit that the joke itself went too far.”

More Digital

  • APOS: Applause Sets up India Adaptation of

    APOS: Applause Sets up India Adaptation of BBC's 'Luther' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Indian content producer Applause Entertainment will produce a local version of hit BBC crime drama “Luther.” With “Luther,” Applause will continue its business model of assuming the risk of producing shows, and later offering them to OTT platforms as finished works. Starring Idris Elba, “Luther” is now five seasons old. The Indian adaptation will be [...]

  • Globe Centred On Asia And Oceania,

    APOS: Online Video Headed for 15% Annual Growth, Disrupting Asia Markets

    A blistering 15% annual growth of online video will give the Asian video industry (TV, pay-TV, home entertainment and streaming) a growth rate nearly double that of North America for the next five years. According to a new report from Media Partners Asia, published on the eve of the APOS conference in Indonesia, Asia’s online [...]

  • philo

    Philo Is Discontinuing Its Cheaper Internet-TV Skinny Bundle for New Customers

    The skinniest virtual pay-TV offering available is going by the wayside. Philo, the over-the-top TV company backed by four cable programmers, is eliminating its super-skinny bundle that offered more than 40 channels for just $16 per month for new customers. It’s more evidence that OTT players are being forced to adjust their pricing and packaging [...]

  • Samsung's Galaxy Fold Launch Delayed After

    Samsung Officially Delays Galaxy Fold Launch

    Samsung has officially delayed the launch of its much-anticipated foldable phone, the Galaxy Fold, after multiple reviewers experienced issues with the device’s screen. The company said in a statement that it would announce a new release data for the device “in the coming weeks.” The Galaxy Fold had first been unveiled at a press event [...]

  • Variety Cord Cutting Placeholder Cable

    Cord Cutting Will Accelerate in 2019, Skinny Bundles Poised to Fail (Report)

    The pace of cord cutting is continuing to accelerate this year, according to a new Convergence Research Group report, with 4.56 million TV households opting to ditch pay TV. By the end of the year, 34% of U.S. households won’t have a traditional TV subscription, according to the research company’s latest “Battle for the American [...]

  • Missing Link Laika Studios

    ‘Missing Link’ Again Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, Annapurna Pictures claims the top spot in spending for the second week in a row with “Missing Link.” Ads placed for the animated film had an estimated media value of $5.91 million through Sunday for [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content