There's an epic battle going on YouTube right now. And chances are most of us going about doing our daily chores are completely unaware of this major showdown.
This is the war for most-subscribed or followed channel on YouTube. The contenders are one-man Swedish YouTuber PewDiePie and our very own Indian label T-Series (That's right. The Gulshan Kumar-founded music label.)
T-Series' fast ascent to the crown has rattled many YouTubers. And trying to stop it in its tracks, PewDiePie has declared the warcry.
For the last five years, the controversial personality PewDiePie, known for his video-game commentary and jokes, has dominated the video platform. The channel's videos have amassed over 19 billion views. His real name is Felix Kjellberg and he's been on the TIME’s list of influencers.
Kjellberg has rolled-out a massive operation asking people to subscribe to his YouTube channel and unsubscribe from T-Series. He even has special award titles for users who troll T-Series videos, downvoting them and those recruiting more members to his channel.
In a fresh twist, Jimmy ‘Mr. Beast’ Donaldson – the American YouTuber who boasts more than 11 million subscribers – joined the war by supporting PewDiePie last month. Mr Beast bought billboards, appeared on local media, distributed flyers – all to accumulate more subscribers for PewDiePie.
Four days ago, MrBeast posted an 11-hour video on his channel in which he's saying “PewDiePie” 100,000 times.
The hilarious stunt may have temporarily stopped T-Series, but it's almost a lost game for PewDiePie.
T-Series, which arrived on YouTube in 2011, is now run by Gulshan Kumar's son Bhushan Kumar.
At the beginning of this year, the company had 30 million fans. Today, it has over 72 million subscribers. The channel is reportedly adding over 141,000 subscribers daily, as per analytics firm socialblade. It's combined video views stand at over 53 billion – way ahead of PewDiePie's 19 billion.
T-Series has been a leading music label in India since the 1980s. It has 29 channels in several Indian languages. In the online avatar, the music label has videos of several top artists under its belt including AR Rahman, Guru Randhawa, Shreya Ghosal and so on. YouTube now accounts for nearly 25 per cent of its sales, which nears $100 million.
The see-saw battle among the two YouTube channels has become so intense that some analytics companies are running live tools and video blogs to register the numbers of users every minute.
The meteoric rise of T-Series has mostly been attributed to the game-changing mobile and data service penetration in India in September 2016. But above all, its online emergence shows the era of the global internet.