×
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

  • Jingle Punks Jingle Player

    Jingle Punks at 10: How the Production Music Platform's Player Works

    Though its primary function is creative, Jingle Punks is built on a foundation of technology and administration. The patented Jingle Player that lets customers search for music using pop culture terms is both intuitive and efficient. Typing in “Reservoir Dogs” or “Starbucks” generates suggestions. Queries are monitored “so if there isn’t an exact match, we’ll suggest [...]

  • Jill Goldfarb - Jukin Media

    Jukin Hires TV Veteran Jill Goldfarb as VP of Linear Programming

    Jukin Media, which specializes in licensing user-generated viral videos, hired Jill Goldfarb as VP of linear programming. Goldfarb’s former tours of duty include serving as Discovery Channel’s VP of programming and as VP of program planning and scheduling at ABC Family/Fox Family Channel. Most recently, for the past five years she worked as an independent [...]

  • Imax Is Exiting the VR Space,

    Imax Is Shutting Down Its VR Business, Closing Remaining Three VR Centers in Q1

    Imax is making its exit from virtual reality (VR) official: The company notified shareholders with a SEC filing Thursday that it will close down its remaining three VR centers, and write off “certain VR content investments.” A company spokesperson confirmed the planned closures and shared the following statement with Variety: “With the launch of the [...]

  • Apple Music Connect Is Being Discontinued

    Apple Music Phases Out Connect Social Feed

    Apple Music has notified artists that it will be phasing out its Connect social feed. Artists won’t be able to post to Connect anymore effective immediately, and their existing posts will be removed by next May, according to an email sent to artists that was first published by 9to5Mac Thursday. “Today we’re streamlining music discovery [...]

  • YouTube logo

    YouTube Warns Creators They May See Subscriber Count Drops Amid Spam-Account Purge

    YouTube is enacting a broad purge of spam accounts over the next two days, and it’s warning creators they could see a big drop in subscribers as a result. According to YouTube, on Dec. 13-14, creators “may see a noticeable decrease” in subscriber counts. The Google-owned video service regularly works to verify the legitimacy of [...]

  • Ninja to Call 'Thursday Night Football'

    Ninja to Call NFL 'Thursday Night Football' Game on Twitch Free Live-Stream

    Tyler “Ninja” Blevins is Twitch’s most popular live-streaming gamer. Now he’s taking his play-by-play skills to the NFL — although it remains to be seen how many of his millions of followers are actually interested in his commentary on gridiron action. This season, Amazon-owned Twitch has provided free live-streaming feeds of the NFL’s “Thursday Night [...]

  • Amazon Starts Selling Chromecast Again, YouTube

    Amazon Starts Selling Google’s Chromecast Again

    Amazon is once again selling Google’s Chromecast streaming adapter, three years after yanking the product from its website. The e-commerce giant began listing the third-generation model of Google’s Chromecast streaming stick, as well as the 4K-capable Chromecast Ultra, on its website this week. The move could be a first step toward a more comprehensive business [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content