For the past five years, Swedish YouTube personality Felix "PewDiePie" Kjellberg has boasted more subscribers on the digital video streaming site — he currently has more than 65 million — than any other YouTube channel.
But, pretty soon, that could all change. And, Kjellberg knows it.
The "T-Series" YouTube channel currently has the second-largest subscriber base on the site, with over 59 million and growing. What's more, it's growing faster than PewDiePie, with T-Series adding roughly 141,000 new subscribers each day on average, versus 29,000 new daily subscribers for Kjellberg, according to social media tracking site Social Blade.
If those growth rates hold steady, then T-Series would catch up with PewDiePie by the end of October, ending Kjellberg's five-year reign as the YouTuber with the most subscribers. T-Series is an Indian music and film production company based in New Delhi. Most of the channel's video posts are Bollywood-style music videos featuring Indian pop stars.
The most popular video on T-Series' channel, for the song "Lahore" by singer Guru Randhawa (embedded below), has more than 559 million views over the past eight months.
Kjellberg, aka PewDiePie, amassed his massive following by posting YouTube videos where he regularly critiques and comments on video games. (He also posts satirical comedy videos about internet culture, though his attempts at comedy have occasionally resulted in backlash, including accusations of racism and anti-Semitism that saw him dropped from a partnership with Disney-owned Maker Studios in 2017.) Kjellberg has had YouTube's largest subscriber count since December 2013, when he passed comedy channel "Smosh" at a time when he had roughly 11.9 million followers.
The most popular video on PewDiePie's channel is a five-year-old comedy compilation titled "A Funny Montage," with 83 million views.
Kjellberg is aware that T-Series is hot on his tail. The vlogger posted a comedic challenge to T-Series on his channel on Wednesday in which he joked about mobilizing his own supporters to stave off T-Series. "The time has come for us to fight back," Kjellberg says in the video, which was previously reported by The Verge.
While he might have been joking, PewDiePie fans seem to be taking the challenge somewhat seriously, as many of them are flooding the comments sections of T-Series videos with threats to "downvote" the channel's posts. "Long live pewdiepie…" wrote one commenter on a recent T-Series post.
T-Series has seen a rapid rise in subscriber totals, as the channel had just under 23.9 million followers exactly a year ago, compared with about 57.2 million for PewDiePie at that time, according to Social Blade. And, T-Series already has far more overall video views than PewDiePie's channel, with over 47 billion views for T-Series dating back to 2006 compared to 18.6 billion for Kjellberg since 2010, according to their respective YouTube pages.
Of course, T-Series has the advantage of being a corporation, whereas Kjellberg is an individual YouTuber. Still, it stands to reason that T-Series' subscriber base will continue to grow, as the bulk of its market is in India, a country with a population of 1.3 billion people.
India is already the world's second-largest online market (behind China), with more than 460 million internet users and plenty of room for that number to grow. The country is expected to have 635 million internet users by 2021, according to Statista.
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