PewDiePie will lose his crown as YouTube's biggest star next week, thanks to India's obsession with Bollywood
- Indian music channel T-Series is about to overtake PewDiePie as the most subscribed channel on YouTube.
- Research firm Tubular Labs has predicted that T-Series will overtake PewDiePie's 67 million subscribers by Monday 29 October.
- T-Series already has more views than the Swedish YouTuber.
- T-Series posts Indian music videos to its channel and is growing at a rapid clip, possibly thanks to India's still-growing smartphone population.
PewDiePie, the Swedish vlogger known in real life as Felix Kjellberg, has long been the most popular personality on YouTube.
Despite purported Nazi jokes and racist comments, PewDiePie has racked up 67 million subscribers to his channel, making him the most subscribed YouTuber of all time. It isn't unusual for his videos to garner anywhere between three and five million views a few days after being posted.But, according to analysis from Tubular, PewDie is likely to lose that long-held top slot on Monday 29 October to T-Series, a Bollywood channel with 66 million subscribers that most Westerners have never heard of.
It already has more views than the Swedish YouTuber, but now it's on track to beat him in terms of numbers of subscribers.
T-Series isn't an individual, like Kjellberg, but a Mumbai-based film and entertainment company which has been around for decades. According to this Motherboard profile of T-Series, the company started out as an audio cassette firm and offers music videos that go beyond Bollywood - which mostly consists of Hindi songs - with regional languages such as Tamil.
T-Series' YouTube channel comprises entirely Indian music videos. Its most viewed video is the song "Lahore" by Punjabi singer Guru Randhawa with 601 million views.
There are a few reasons T-Series has the advantage over PewDiePie. Its channel is more prolific than PewDiePie's, posting six videos in the space of 24 hours versus two from PewDiePie. As a one-man band, Kjellberg can't keep up.India also has a population of 1.3 billion people and, unlike many Western markets, smartphone adoption is still growing. The country remains obsessed with Bollywood, and so it's natural that new smartphone owners would turn to YouTube to find their favourite hits. If anything, it's surprising a Bollywood-oriented channel took this long to become the number one YouTuber.
As a result, T-Series is growing at a much faster clip than PewDiePie. According to Tubular, the Bollywood channel gained 4.2 million subscribers in September. PewDiePie gained just 863,000.
PewDiePie has talked about the rivalry with T-Series, and apparently expressed reservations that an "indie" YouTuber might be supplanted by a corporate channel.
In a video posted October 21, he said: "I don't really care about T-Series, I generally don't, but I think if YouTube does shift in a way where it does feel more corporate, then something else will take its place. People enjoy this connection so much, I think something else will show up if it becomes more corporate."