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Why YouTube is now the most subscribed channel on YouTube

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BY JOSHUA COHEN

Sorry, Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, but PewDiePie is no longer the Most Subscribed Channel on YouTube. That title now belongs to another. And that channel is YouTube.

The world’s most popular online video sharing site's repository for all its videos relating to its tentpole events (including things like Comedy and Geek Week) skyrocketed past the 24-year-old Swede's collection of gaming videos earlier this week. YouTube.com/YouTube now boasts no less than 15,361,753 subscribers to YouTube.com/ewDiePie's 15,129,420.

The drastic ascent of YouTube’s Spotlight Channel can be attributed to two main factors.

One, the incredible amount of marketing and promotion YouTube has given to its YouTube Music Awards. The channel was home to the live stream of the event and all the subsequent live music videos (from the likes of Eminem, Lady Gaga, and more) shot and/or creatively directed by Spike Jonze.

And two, YouTube has been autosuggesting new YouTube users to subscribe to its owned and operated channels (in addition to the channels of popular YouTubers) for the past several months.

Here’s what the signup process looks like for those creating a new YouTube account:

 

First, there’s a “Welcome” pop up that suggests different categories of programming in which the new user may be interested. Each category contains a number of channels.

 

New users can simply click on a category to highlight that category. Once that user has selected all the categories he or she would like to explore, he or she clicks on the ”Next” button and is taken to the next step in the process below.

 

Finally, users are given a selection of channels to which they can individually subscribe based on their previous category selections. All the channels are pre-selected and a new user must de-select a specific channel if it’s something to which he or she doesn’t want to subscribe. The “Channels from the best of YouTube” category is pre-selected and—in all of our testing—automatically shows up at this stage. Once the new user clicks “Save”, he or she will be subscribed to every channel with a check mark.

As YouTube adds to its one billion unique visitors every month and converts more and more of those visitors into new users, it’s no wonder the subscription numbers on its own channels are increasing at an incredibly fast rate. It makes sense, too. Of course YouTube would want to do all in its power (without being too overbearing or burdensome) to promote and publicize its own offerings, especially as it starts to produce more high-profile events. If even a small percentage of those passive subscribers see the links in their feed and tune into YouTube produced or promoted videos, it can add tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of views. That’s beneficial for brands like Kia (who sponsored the YTMAs) and creators like Felicia DayChester SeeFreddie Wong, (who all participated in YouTube’s Geek Week) and more.

Hopefully, YouTube will use its power as the no. 1 Most Subscribed Channel to continue to promote creators and events both big and small. And here’s to PewDiePie for holding onto that no. 1 spot on the Most Subscribed list for 10 weeks with grace and aplomb.

Photo via iJustine