Blog: T-Series topples PewDiePie for a day, but success is shortlived
T-Series, bolstered by the viral trailer of new movie, ‘PM Narendra Modi’ took what looked like an unassailable lead over rival PewDiePie yesterday but the savvy Swede was back at No 1 by the late night in the Great Subscriber War!
For netizens across India and the globe, an epoch making event took place yesterday, March 21. Indian supporters rejoiced as Indian music label T-Series made it an even more colourful Holi for India by pipping bête noire PewDiePie in the early hours of the morning to become the most-watched You Tube channel in the world. In the wee hours of the morning, T-Series was about 7,000 subscribers ahead in the sub-count. T-Series continued to pull ahead throughout the day, increasing the lead to about 30,000. Then, as many times before, PewDiePie hit back and surged ahead of T-Series by night fall. As of 10 AM IST, this morning, on March 22, PewDiePie was back in the lead with 90,422, 127 subscribers, a hair-breadth ahead of T-Series who stood at 90,404,544. A lead reversal of 50,000 subs in less than half-a-day! Incredible, to say the least.
I had first written about the miracle of PewDiePie in my Blog dated November 19, 2018, in Campaign India. At that time T-Series looked all set to dethrone the Swedish YouTuber for good. Well, as the events of the past 24-hours show, Pewds (as he is affectionately referred to by netizens) is no push-over.
T-Series’ lunge ahead of PewDiePie on Holi was mostly a result of the latest viral video, a trailer for new movie 'PM Narendra Modi', which accumulated over five million views in less than 16 hours on You Tube. This gave T-Series the momentary edge in the battle against the vlogger from Sweden, who has ruled YouTube for six years now, holding the status of most subscribed channel, which was challenged almost a year ago by the Indian music and content label T-Series. The two have been running neck-and-neck since then with both contenders seeking all the support that they can get, and muster.
Numbers in March had been shoring up for T-Series, noticeably because Bhojpuri actress Monalisa had recently put in a strong word for T-Series in their battle against PewDiePie. The woman, whose real name is Antara Biswas, urged her almost 1.7-million-strong following on Instagram to subscribe to the Indian record and movie label with a short video address, “It’s so exciting to know that T-Series is on the brink of becoming the biggest YouTube channel in the world! Congratulations T-Series – let’s all subscribe to ensure Bharat wins YouTube”, she said. And the impact on subscribers started to show up immediately. With her call to her fan-base to subscribe to T-Series, Monalisa, known for her roles in Bollywood and participation in the Indian-made reality TV show Bigg Boss, has joined a whole team of Indian celebrities, including Adnan Sami, Anil Kapoor, Varun Dhawan, Disha Patani, Sonakshi Sinha, Rajkummar Rao and Neha Kakkar who supported T-series and its owner Bhushan Kumar in their mission to overthrow the YouTube king of 6 years, Pewds, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg.
In the Great Subscriber War, Pewds has lost his number-one status to T-Series on a number of occasions in past months, but managed to return as the No 1 YouTuber, like he did last night one more time, beating all odds. To retain his No 1 status, the Swede has gone to extraordinary lengths. For instance only last week, he unfollowed everyone on Twitter, except BTS, a K-pop boy band to win the support of its multi-million fandom around the globe. He also made controversial remarks on the conflict between Pakistan and India soon after Pulwama in Pew News and claimed that all of Pakistan was arraigned in his support against India and the Indian music label. Concurrently, a month ago, PewDiePie invited the legendary Elon Musk as a guest on his Meme Review episode significantly boosting subscriber numbers. In the see-saw You Tube battle, PewDiePie continued to court controversy … he found prominent mention last week in the New Zealand killer’s 17-minutes video posted across all of social media. Very early in the video, the shooter says, “Remember, lads, subscribe to PewDiePie.” Kjellberg ofcourse immediately disavowed the shootings, “I feel absolutely sickened having my name uttered by this person,” but the Pewds-T-Series battle got further pushed into global glare.
Last night PewDiePie pulled out an entirely new weapon to give T-Series a serious lashing and mastermind his comeback in just 24 hours. His recent meme segment covered an image of Mr. Incredible with his tongue hanging out, which prompted the King of YouTube to take out his in hilarious fashion. “Gfuel Powder: exists, PewDiePie...,” he said. “This is my last and final weapon against T-Series. I didn't want to reveal my power this early in the game: I have a really large tongue. Watch carefully T-Series.” The skit was as usual a bit tongue-and-cheek, and the meme was spot on as PewDiePie really does have a rather large tongue.
After the incredible reveal, he double-downed on his attack, going on record, “Are you seeing this T-Series,” PewDiePie said. “That’s right T-Series, I think I proved my point here today. I expect you to run and never look back. Never come back. You’re banished from these lands T-Series.”
As the race to 100 million subs gets hotter, PewDiePie will surely sharpen his weapons which are both provocative and ingenious, to say the least. On the other hand, while T-Series has been trying its best to outscore Pewds, its efforts have been less than consistent. Despite the negative national sentiment on the February 14 CRPF episode that left 40 jawans dead, T-Series brought back tracks of Pakistani singers Atif Aslam and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan to their online channels despite a short earlier ban … so desperate are T-Series to win this bruising battle for supremacy.
My young digital evangelist friend, 22-years old Sumedh Chaphekar, the founder of NoFiltr, the social media label that incubates young talent and makes them famous on the internet is of the view that T-Series will eventually win the game versus PewDiePie. It is only a matter of time before Pewds is finally vanquished despite his valiant heroics over the past year to keep T-Series at bay. But he was of the view, “It was fun drama (yesterday), but this is just the beginning. Next, an individual Indian channel will be No 1 in a couple of years. Ashish Chanchlani, one of India’s leading YouTubers, did 13 million views in just 24 hours yesterday”. Well, that is a good indicator for what more tomorrow may unveil. An Indian PewDiePie? So soon? Why not?
(Dr Sandeep Goyal is a keen watcher of the trends and movements in the digital world.)