For the past year, the YouTuber Felix Kjellberg has been involved in an “intercontinental war” involving hacking printers, advertisement at the Superbowl, diss tracks, stress, in order to remain the most subscribed to (subscriptions are used to give your support for a channel) YouTube channel. How did this start? How has one man competed against a multi-million dollar company and remained ahead for so long? This is the story of Pewdiepie:
In the year 2013, A person named Felix Kjellberg created a YouTube channel. It was in this year that Felix uploaded his first video: “Multiplayer Minecraft Fun.” Those who saw the video knew that Felix was going to do something great. Three years later, in 2013, Felix Kjellberg, created his youtube channel “Pewdiepie” passed a popular channel known as “Smosh” in subscribers and in doing so, became the most subscribed to Youtuber. From there, Pewdiepie grew at an unbelievable rate, surpassing all the competition without any contest until the most interest in him in the summer of 2014.
Several years passed and Pewdiepie continued gaining subscribers, but at a far slower rate than before. He began to grow irrelevant as his content stagnated and people found other games to play and people to watch. In the fall of 2018, Pewdiepie had reached the lowest searches through google and youtube that he had ever received, but no one seemed to care, as Pewds was still several million subscribers ahead of all other channels.
It was around this point that an Indian Bollywood music company called “T-Series” appeared to be growing twice as fast as Felix. As weeks passed, T-Series closed the distance from each other in subscribers (the “subgap”) from tens of millions to less than 5 million. How did they do this? First of all, because of the youtube algorithm. With T-Series being a music company with several hundred staff, they are able to come out with roughly 10 videos a day; something Pewdiepie, alone could never compete with. Because of the way youtube is structured, channels that release more videos daily are rewarded by appearing in the recommended section of more new channels. Additionally, with Millions of the 1.3 billion people in India gaining access to the internet and with T-Series being the leading Indian channel, they appear in the recommended sections of every new account made in India, making them more likely to get subscriptions to their channel. At this point, all who still watched Pewds began to spread the word of the subgap between Pewdiepie and T-series and encouraged all they could to subscribe. This gave Felix a lot of support, but still, T-Series was growing faster. It was at this point that another popular YouTuber named “Mr. Beast” began to ask all of his viewers to subscribe to videos. He also made videos in which he bought advertising boards on highways and asked everyone he encountered to sub to Pewdiepie. This not only aided Pewdiepie in gaining subscribers, but Mr. Beast also received attention from Pewdiepie and gained subscribers as a result. Seeing how well supporting Pewdiepie had gone for Mr. Beast, some other attention seekers including Logan Paul and “Asian Boss” encouraged their subscribers. At roughly the same time, famous figures such as Elon Musk and others hosted one of Pewdiepie’s videos called “Meme Review.” This helped Pewdiepie and put him several million subscribers ahead of T-Series. Just yesterday, Pewdiepie decided it was time that the fight to keep him in front was getting old and posted a video asking his subscribers to stop using the hashtag and promoting him to others for the sole reason of beating T-Series.
Meanwhile in India, T-Series made sponsorship deals with many Indian celebrities in an effort to take over as the most subscribed channel in YouTube, and most recently they made a deal with Pepsi that boosted their count tremendously. Currently, T-Series is ahead by 1.3 million, the largest either of them have been ahead by in just under five months.
So what does this really matter? While this may seem like just another YouTube fight, with just the creators themselves benefitting from the outcome, this is not the case. The most effect this had was when Pewdiepie hosted a charity stream, in which he raised over 250,000 dollars for a charity devoted to helping education in India. In addition, Logan Paul created a link that donated a Swedish Krona (about .11 of a dollar) to a charity every time someone subscribed using that link. So while in the end fans of Pewdiepie may be disappointed with the outcome, they can rest easy knowing that their efforts to make this event public helped tens of thousands of lives.
A three weeks ago, Pewdiepie decided to end the movement after he thought it was no longer fun and became more of something annoying both Pewdiepie himself and T-Series. In addition, criminals were beginning to say the cause of what they did was the “Subscribe to Pewdiepie,” and he thought there was no longer a purpose. His video, titled “Ending the Subscribe to Pewdiepie Meme.”