Unless you have been living in the mountains, you know all about PewDiePie VS T-series. Pewdiepie (Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg), a Swedish YouTuber who is currently living in Japan with his fiancé, Marzia Bisognin, is the biggest YouTuber of all time and while writing of this article the most subscribed YouTube channel, which is currently on the battle with T-series, an Indian record company, for the title of most-subscribed channel on the video-sharing website.
The battle to become the number one subscribed YouTuber (or YouTube channel) has always been a coveted prize that’s quite surprising since being in that position is quite futile seeing as you don’t get any special privileges other than bragging rights but
Felix Kjellberg, known online as PewDiePie, is a Swedish YouTuber who makes comedy videos and has previously made Let’s Play videos. His channel had the most subscribers from 2013 until 27 March 2019, when he was finally surpassed by T-Series. This occurred multiple times over the following weeks. He has over 92 million subscribers and 20.9 billion views as of 1 April 2019. He refers to his fan base as the “9-year-old army”. The name “9-year-old army” was coined by Alinity.
T-Series is an Indian music record label and film production company. On YouTube, it has a multi-channel network consisting of 29 channels, with over 100 million combined subscribers in total as of November 2018. The main T-Series channel primarily contains Indian music videos as well as Bollywood film trailers, and uploads around 5 videos per day. T-Series became the most-viewed channel on YouTube in February 2017, having over 65.9 billion views as of 28 March 2019. The channel has over 92 million subscribers as of 1 April 2019 and is currently the 2nd most subscribed channel. T-series is really integrated into Indian culture and it’s more than just a label.
An individual VS an entire company
Felix Kjellberg made his name in the “Let’s Play” genre. He took gaming videos to another level by making the viewers feel like they were playing game with a friend. His channel exploded with popularity as he built a dedicated fan base called, “The bro army.” What followed were multiple successes such as appearing on mainstream Television programs like The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, writing a book, having his own YouTube Red show, starting a successful clothing line and raising more than 10 million dollars for multiple charities. He transitioned multiple times into different types of content such as vlogging, comedy sketches and Meme Review.
Essentially PewDiePie is going up against a behemoth of a corporation; an individual creator is against an entire company. To put it into perspective, Felix uploads everyday and from his total archive he gains about 20 million views per day. T-series, on the other hand, uploads about 4-6 videos per day and garners about 100 million views per day. Some had predicted that the corporation would overtake the YouTuber in just one month. But then something happened.
People forgot to take the power of the community into consideration. Many creators have used their massive influence to propel PewDiePie further ahead from purchasing expensive ads (around 5 million USD), explicitly telling their audience to subscribe to PewDiePie by saying to do their part in saving YouTube, sneaking subliminal messages into YouTube rewind, and many other stunts like saying his name 100,000 times, playing his song for 24 hrs straight on guitar, drawing subscribe to PewDiePie tattoo on the thigh. In just couple of months, Felix gained over 30 million subscribers.
Why do people care so much?
This battle has brought together a pool of creators some who have not seen eye to eye with Felix. But they have come together just so a corporation doesn’t take a number 1 spot on YouTube. Even South African entrepreneur Elon Musk who is known for founding Tesla Motors and SpaceX, which launched a landmark commercial spacecraft in 2012, has asked to subscribe to PewDiePie many times from his twitter account. According to Felix, he doesn’t care about the spot but his viewers care.
Blatant racism had sprung up against the Indian people because of several jokes made by PewDiePie on his channel. In response, Felix urged his viewers to donate to a charity that would help children in India. Some of his Indian fans have even taken the liberty to translate the type of humour Felix has and even urged people to subscribe to him rather than T-series.
“Perhaps why we care so much can be found from the underdog narrative we love so much portrayed in movies, TV shows, and stories. The tale has been told again and again. The little guy who is disadvantaged in every way defeats Goliath. The praise for these tales shows how much we want the underdog to win and PewDiePie is certainly the underdog in this situation.”