There’s no such thing as bad publicity, so the saying goes. While sometimes that’s just not true, in this case, however, it is.
Thanks to ‘beef’ with YouTube channel T-Series, PewDiePie has racked up more followers in just a few months at the end of 2018 than he gained throughout the whole of 2017.
Since October, PewDiePie, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, had been in danger of losing his crown as the world’s most popular YouTuber when an Indian company T-Series, which uploads Bollywood music videos, gained millions of followers.
The Indian company caught the eye of PewDiePie in August, as he could see the challengers coming while perched on top of his YouTube throne (presumably made of loads of ‘thumbs up’ and ‘subscribe’ icons).
T-Series had amassed 66 million subscribers at the time, and if they continued that trend they would overtake PewDiePie within a week.
So, naturally, Kjellberg took to YouTube and posted a video challenging T-Series to ‘a sabre fight’, saying: ‘No more lame boxing matches, I challenge T-Series to a sabre fight, like real men’.
He went on:
If they won’t accept my sword challenge, then the only thing we can do is fight fire with fire – smash subscribe, smash subscribe!
His call to action obviously worked a treat, with fans around the world putting up posters and asking people to subscribe, while fellow YouTubers Logan Paul and Mr. Beast also chipped in with gaining support.
As a result, PewDiePie’s channel racked up more subscribers in the last four months of 2018 than it did in all of 2017, Business Insider reports.
Between September and December last year, Kjellberg garnered 13 million subscribers. For comparison, in the whole of 2017 he gained seven million.
In December alone, there were 6.62 million new subscribers, which was a 700 per cent increase on the 855,000 new subscriber count in September.
However, at the time of writing, it’s still an incredibly close competition. T-Series are standing at 81,534,386 subscribers while PewDiePie is just ahead with 81,653,814.
PewDiePie had some help from his peers for directing a huge amount of traffic his way, too.
Mr. Beast, a YouTuber with 13 millions followers himself, paid for radio adverts and billboards promoting PewDiePie, as well as carrying out a 12-hour live-streaming stunt, during which he apparently said ‘PewDiePie’ 100,000 times.
Fellow YouTuber Logan Paul also chipped in, saying he would donate money to charity if his subscribers followed PewDiePie.
The YouTubers are in support of Kjellberg as they would rather see an individual be the biggest channel on YouTube, to be the face of the video site, rather than a company.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.