PewDiePie vs T-Series
PewDiePie vs T-Series is a mock competition between the two YouTube channels, PewDiePie and T-Series, for the title of the most-subscribed channel[note 1] on the video-sharing website. PewDiePie has been the most-subscribed user since December 2013, while T-Series has been most-viewed and second most-subscribed channel since early 2018.
Prominent YouTubers such as MrBeast, Markiplier, Jacksepticeye and Logan Paul have voiced their support for PewDiePie, and many of PewDiePie's fans have done stunts to support him. On the other hand, several prominent Indian YouTubers such as CarryMinati, Harsh Beniwal and Jus Reign have voiced their support for T-Series.
Felix Kjellberg, known online as PewDiePie, is a Swedish comedy YouTuber, previously known for Let's Play videos. His YouTube channel has had more subscribers than any other YouTube channel[note 1] since August of 2013. He currently has over 80 million subscribers and 20 billion views as of 8 January 2019[update].
T-Series is an Indian music record label and film production company. On YouTube, it has a multi-channel network consisting of 29 channels, run by a team of 13 people, with 100 million subscribers in total as of November 2018 and 61.5 billion views as of August 2018. The main T-Series channel primarily contains Indian music videos (Bollywood music and Indi-pop) as well as Bollywood film trailers, and uploads several videos every day. T-Series began gaining massive amounts of subscribers in early 2016 and became the most-viewed channel on YouTube in February 2017. The channel was expected to surpass PewDiePie in terms of subscribers in mid-January 2019. The channel currently has 80 million subscribers and 58 billion views as of 9 January 2019.
Activism in support of PewDiePie
Several YouTubers have publicly campaigned for subscribing to PewDiePie, while others such as Markiplier, Jacksepticeye and Logan Paul have made videos and/or tweets announcing their support for PewDiePie in the competition, often under the slogan "Subscribe to PewDiePie". YouTuber MrBeast bought multiple billboards and radio advertisements in North Carolina telling viewers to subscribe to PewDiePie's channel. YouTuber Justin Roberts, a member of the YouTuber group Team 10, bought a reportedly $1 million billboard in New York's Times Square saying the same. Markiplier made a tongue-in-cheek video titled "I literally won't shut up until you subscribe to PewDiePie" telling his viewers to subscribe to PewDiePie's channel. Jacksepticeye tweeted in support of PewDiePie, saying, "Roses are red / 9 year olds rise / We will defeat T Series / Subscribe to PewDiePie". YouTuber Patrick Adair Designs made a ring that is programmed to use a nearby person's phone to subscribe to PewDiePie and unsubscribe from T-Series.
Many PewDiePie fans have engaged in negatively spamming and trolling the T-Series channel, which includes swarming T-Series videos with PewDiePie-related comments, leaving many dislikes on their videos, and flagging their videos with false reports. A number of PewDiePie's fans and supporters have also been making anti-Indian remarks and using racial slurs, which has led to some controversy in India.
|The message printed on the hacked printers|
A hacker under the pseudonym "HackerGiraffe" gained access to a total of around 50,000 printers in November, and another hacked around 80,000 printers in December. Messages were printed out saying "PewDiePie is in trouble and he needs your help to defeat T-Series!" and urging printer users to subscribe to PewDiePie, unsubscribe from T-Series, and fix their printer. HackerGiraffe claimed that he had discovered more than 800,000 vulnerable printers using the search engine Shodan used for finding vulnerable devices. The latter hacker also took down T-Series' website with a denial-of-service attack.
In December 2018, one of the Wall Street Journal's websites was hacked and displayed a message apologising for articles accusing PewDiePie of anti-Semitism and told readers to subscribe to his channel. The message was taken down and an investigation was launched into the incident.
In January 2019, more than 65,000 of Google’s Chromecast streaming dongles were hacked by HackerGiraffe and j3ws3r, displaying a message on Smart TVs urging people to subscribe to PewDiePie and adjust their security settings.
Activism in support of T-Series
In reaction to MrBeast's advertising campaign, Saimandar Waghdhare, an independent Indian YouTuber with the channel "Saiman Says", responded to MrBeast's advertising campaign by posting a video supporting T-Series. However, he later released a video in which he changes his support to PewDiePie.
The rivalry began getting more attention in India after it drew some controversy; PewDiePie's "Bitch Lasagna" diss track contained lyrics about Indian people that some Indians found offensive, and there have been a number of PewDiePie's fans and supporters making anti-Indian remarks and using racial slurs. This has led to several independent Indian YouTubers announcing their opposition to PewDiePie and support for T-Series. In November 2018, Indian-Canadian comedian and YouTuber Jus Reign uploaded a video called "In Defense of T-Series", where he talks about T-Series, mentions his childhood listening to their music, and shows a short music video at the end celebrating T-Series.
In response to PewDiePie's "Bitch Lasagna" diss track, several Indian YouTubers responded with their own Hindi-language diss tracks against PewDiePie. Tatva K released his diss track "Pew Ki Pie" in November 2018, followed by Asif Bantaye releasing his diss track "PENDUBHAI" in December 2018. On New Year's Day 2019, CarryMinati, a PUBG player and one of India's top ten YouTubers, released a diss track called "Bye PewDiePie", which garnered nearly 5 million views within 24 hours.
In August 2018, PewDiePie posted a video titled "this channel will over take PewDiePie" in which he jokingly rallied his fans against T-Series. The video also referenced the recent KSI vs. Logan Paul YouTube boxing match, which similarly involved a rivalry between two major YouTubers.
On 5 October 2018, PewDiePie—in collaboration with Party In Backyard—posted a diss track against T-Series, titled "Bitch Lasagna". In the song, he throws insults towards T-Series and their video contents, makes references to contemporary Indian stereotypes, and questioned the legitimacy of T-Series' subscriber count by accusing the company of using "sub bots" to gain false subscriptions.
After he was asked about his "serious opinions" about the situation, PewDiePie said: "I don't really care about T-Series, I genuinely don't, but I think if YouTube does shift in a way where it does feel more corporate, [then] something else will take its place. I think people enjoy this connection so much, I think something else will just show up, if it feels too corporate." He also blamed YouTube for a lack of support toward individual YouTubers.
On December 2, as the gap between the numbers of subscribers rapidly shrinked, PewDiePie tweeted "It looks like this is it bois." After multiple high-profile YouTubers posted videos supporting him, PewDiePie made a video the next day calling for his viewers to support the Indian non-governmental organisation Child Rights and You, in response to some of his fans' anti-Indian sentiment. He raised £173,682, including a donation by Minecraft creator Markus Persson, and also ran a charity live stream the next day.
T-Series chairman and managing director Bhushan Kumar, son of late founder Gulshan Kumar, told the BBC in December 2018 that he had previously never heard of PewDiePie until a few months ago. Bhushan Kumar said he's "really not bothered about this race" and followed up with "I don't even know why PewDiePie is taking this so seriously." He added, "We are not competing with him."
T-Series' Neeraj Kalyan noted the channel's overseas viewership has increased as a result of the mock competition, stating that "people in the West, or in the East as far as Japan were not even aware of us. They now know about us because of all that controversy." He also said it is "a matter of pride for all Indians that an Indian YouTube Channel will soon be world's biggest channel on YouTube." However, Kalyan noted that "a set of overzealous PewDiePie fans are negatively spamming" and trolling their channel, to which he responded, "we are not perturbed by this kind of behaviour" and that no "amount of spamming will be able to hold back the power of good music."
The media quickly picked up on the competition for the "vaunted honour" of being the most-subscribed channel on YouTube. The Evening Standard, The Independent and Quillette described the rivalry as "David vs Goliath" because T-Series is a large corporation and brand with many employees, while PewDiePie is a YouTuber behind a standalone channel. The Guardian, on the other hand, described T-Series as "a challenger from the streets of Delhi", in reference to the humble origins of its late founder Gulshan Kumar, who was a fruit juice seller when he founded the company. CNN-News18 described the competition as a "one-sided beef" from PewDiePie and his fandom.
Vox Media says that this competition represents the growing divide of subcultures on YouTube—on one side are the creators who have developed their own channels over the course of YouTube's history, and on the other side sit corporations who use YouTube as a platform to advertise their shows from external platforms. The Washington Post, on the other hand, says that it represents how "Indians are reshaping the Internet" as a result of the fast growth of the Internet in India.
The Verge compared the rivalry to the KSI vs. Logan Paul YouTube boxing match. The Verge writer Patricia Hernandez described PewDiePie's antagonism as "all for show" and stated that "rivalries play a huge role on YouTube because they give viewers narratives where pseudo-heroes and villains exist with low (if any) stakes."
In September 2018, the YouTube channel Flare TV started a live stream showing the live subscriber counts of both channels. In October 2018, Social media statistics and analytics website, Social Blade, started a similar livestream showing the live subscriber counts of both channels.
On 13 December 2018, YouTube removed a large number of spamming subscribers from the platform. As a result, PewDiePie lost over 40,000 subscribers and T-Series lost more than 200,000 subscribers from its main channel.
YouTube Rewind 2018: Everyone Controls Rewind, the 2018 video edition of the annual YouTube recap, became the most disliked video on the platform after a heavy backlash. One of the cited reasons for the criticism was the lack of coverage of the competition between PewDiePie and T-Series. YouTuber Jaiden Animations had contributed to the video, and her animation includes several hidden icons and objects related to PewDiePie.
- Not counting genre-based pseudo-channels created and maintained by YouTube.
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