YouTube king PewDiePie fends off Bollywood threat — for now

Posted at 7:27 AM, Nov 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-02 09:27:45-04

The king of YouTube is not giving up his throne without a fight.

Bollywood record label T-Series was on track to overtake Felix Kjellberg — or “PewDiePie” — in subscriber count by last Monday, according to analytics firm Tubular Labs, but a campaign to defend his spot has seen a remarkable surge in followers for the Swedish video star in the past week.

Last Friday, the gap in subscribers between the two channels was about 170,000. T-Series had been rapidly gaining ground, adding around 90,000 subscribers a day more than PewDiePie in October, Tubular Labs said.

But one week and an intense marketing campaign later, PewDiePie now sits almost 700,000 subscribers ahead, with close to 69 million.

“They have not won yet,” PewDiePie said on Monday in a video titled ‘i need your help…’ in which he also praised the efforts of fellow YouTuber MrBeast for his work in drumming up support.

MrBeast posted a video boasting how he bought billboards, went on TV and did radio ads to stop PewDiePie from being dethroned.

“We must unite under one common goal. We must subscribe to PewDiePie and put an end to T-series,” MrBeast said in the video.

But longer term trends suggest Kjellberg may not keep his spot, which he has held since 2013, for long. T-Series gained more than 40 million subscribers in the year to October 25, according to Tubular Labs, while PewDiePie gained less than 10 million in the same period.

“While [Kjellberg] may no longer be in the ‘danger zone’ T-Series may still knock him off the top spot,” Carla Marshall, content marketing manager and editor-in-chief at Tubular Labs, told CNN. “Things could all change quickly.”