The subscriber gap between Indian record label T Series and PewDiePie narrowed down to one lakh (one hundred thousand) in the early hours of Saturday. At about 2 am, PewDiePie was just 1.06 lakh subscribers ahead. However, it soon gained back and at the time of filing this story, it zoomed ahead with 1.17 lakh more followers.
The battle between India's 33-year-old musical giant and one-man Swedish content creator Felix Kjellberg has been going on since 2018. Both are vying for the spot of most followed YouTube channel.
PewDiePie held the mantle for six years now. However, earlier last year, boosted by India's game-changing data and mobile services, T Series shot up from mere 30 million subscribers to over 80 million.
To put things in perspective, roughly 20 million people had access to the internet in 2000. In the next 18 years, the number swelled to 560 million and continues to grow. India already overtook the United States last year to become the second largest smartphone market in the world after China.
While delivering the country's budget for 2019 on Friday, Indian Finance Minister Piyush Goyal informed that “India is now leading the world in the consumption of mobile data. Monthly consumption of mobile data increased by over 50 times in the last five years.” Cost of data and voice calls in India is also one of the lowest across the world.
This supersonic growth of T Series, propelled by the government trying to equip 1.3 billion Indians with smartphone connectivity, wasn't taken lightly by PewDiePie.
Pewds, as his young army of followers calls themselves, began a massive mission to beat T Series. Pewds went out of their way to gain more followers, indulging in online campaigns. Some even hacked worldwide printers, Google Chromecasts, smart TVs and defaced Wall Street Journal.
PewDiePie also saw many of his contemporaries and direct competitors, including Mr Beast, Logan Paul, Shane Dawson, come out in support. Mr Beast even bought BillBoards to promote Felix's channel.
Latest to come out in PewDiePie's support is Elon Musk - the founder of SpaceX, Tesla, Hyperloop, The Boring Company, and Neuralink, and UK Independence Party (UKIP), a Britain-based right-wing political outfit.
It's just a matter of time that T-Series overtakes the independent Swedish content creator, claim experts.
In the meantime, let's remind our readers that the three-decade-old company founded by late Gulshan Kumar in 1990s, is already the most-watched YouTube channel with over 60 billion views.