TSeries: The Indian YouTube Channel That Could Dethrone PewDiePie

TSeries is not exactly a household name in the United States.  However, in it’s home country of India, TSeries is a significant entertainment conglomerate.  Even before it launched a YouTube channel, TSeries was producing some of the best-selling soundtrack albums on the Indian charts.  In fact, the TSeries label even boasts the #1 Indian soundtrack album of all-time, Aashiqui (1990).

The success for the Indian recording giant does not stop there.   TSeries also has several claims to fame on YouTube.  TSeries is the most-subscribed Hindi-language YouTube channel.  It is also the most-subscribed Indian YouTube channel.  Further, TSeries is the most-viewed YouTube channel in the Entertainment category.  Oh, and TSeries is also the most-viewed YouTube channel in the world.

Yep, that’s right.  With almost 31 billion views, TSeries holds the title for most-viewed YouTube channel of all-time, and it isn’t even close.  Runner-up WWEFanNation trails by about 10 billion views, a margin that would be, by itself, large enough to be among the Top 30 or so most-viewed YouTube channels.

So what is the secret to TSeries success on YouTube?  Well, TSeries benefits from being a known, popular label in India since the 1980’s.  It also benefits from 12 years of concentrated success on YouTube targeting India’s 1.3 billion citizens (that’s “just” the population of India and doesn’t include the worldwide diaspora).  For rough numbers, that’s 23 views/Indian citizen — which really isn’t that much when you consider how many songs you might listen to on the radio, or Pandora, or Spotify per day.

So TSeries is Already at the Top, How Can it “Dethrone” PewDiePie?

Although TSeries dominates YouTube in the “views” category, PewDiePie still reigns supreme as the most-subscribed YouTuber in the world.  However, 2017 wasn’t exactly a good year for PewDiePie as he shed subscribers and slowed his channel views after he demonstrated a pattern of willfully using of flagrantly offensive and racist language.  Despite this, he still holds the #1 spot and his “ruby play button” for eclipsing the 50 million subscribers mark.  TSeries is . . . not there yet.

Interestingly, despite it’s dominance in the views category, TSeries lags well behind PewDiePie as “only” the second-most subscribed channel on YouTube.  As of this writing, PewDiePie has ~1.7x more subscribers than TSeries.  THAT gap,would itself be a Top-5 most-subscribed channel.  So, why am I so optimistic for TSeries?

1.  TSeries’ ~35 million subscribers are equivalent to 2.7% of the population of India.  That’s a lot of room to grow among a large and growing population.

2. TSeries’ views/subs ratio is about 4x higher than PewDiePie’s.  Even with a (undoubtedly) higher repeat rate per video among those subscribers, that’s still a lot of extra views going to non-subscribers who will eventually convert.

3. TSeries has a long-term advantage that PewDiePie can’t match.  The TSeries brand has survived since the 1980’s and relies on the talents of many artists.  PewDiePie is a single YouTuber.  He can get bored.  Or he can get lazy.  Or he can hang-up the camera and quit.  Hopefully he quits using racist language and/or thinking racist thoughts altogether, but he might not, and more of his subscribers might walk.

4. As the #1 most viewed and #2 most subscribed channel on YouTube, TSeries is arguably the “Most Successful” YouTube channel ever.  They obviously understand how to win in this medium and that is unlikely to change.

Conclusion:  TSeries Will Win the YouTube Subs Race, Slow and Steady

In the long-run, I believe the demographics, viewer behavior, and staying-power of the TSeries brand will close the gap on PewDiePie.  India is the #2 most populous country in the world.  YouTube is the #2 most visited website in India.  TSeries is the most-viewed Indian channel on YouTube and the most-viewed YouTube channel overall.  The TSeries channel is based on a brand that is built to stand the test of time, whereas PewDiePie’s channel is built on a “cult of personality.”  It may be a long time before TSeries overtakes PewDiePie’s sub count, but it won’t be never.

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