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PewDiePie should have already been dethroned as the world’s most popular YouTuber. Yet the controversial YouTube star has, for now, held off a challenge from Indian music label T-Series for the most subscriptions in the world.
Still, PewDiePie’s lead is steadily shrinking, and the future seems inevitable: According to YouTube analytics site Social Blade, T-Series should overcome him in subscriber count by the beginning of next month despite what has become an international campaign to keep PewDiePie the most popular YouTuber.
The original forecast projected T-Series to pass him on Oct. 24, when T-Series would have 67.54 million subscribers and PewDiePie would have 67.28 million. But for the past month or so, PewDiePie’s popularity has kept his subscription rate ahead of T-Series.
American YouTuber MrBeast erected billboards and did a TV and radio tour to compel people to subscribe to PewDiePie. He even bought bathroom ads. And MrBeast’s plan worked—for a while, at least.
Before his save-PewDiePie’s-subscriber-lead plan was implemented, T-Series was averaging between 130,000 and 170,000 new subscribers per day while PewDiePie countered with only 30,000 to 50,000 per day. After MrBeast got involved, PewDiePie was averaging about 255,000 per day versus T-Series’ 152,000.
Even some residents of Bangladesh helped out, spreading posters to try to convince others to smash PewDiePie’s subscriber button. Earlier this week, an Indian YouTuber named Saiman Says posted a video in which he bought PewDiePie billboards in Mumbai, India, and passed out flyers on subways and in work offices to beg people to subscribe. Saiman Says has about 34,000 subscribers, but his video went viral, accumulating more than 530,000 views.
In a recent video, PewDiePie showed his gratitude for the Indian support, saying, “This is perfect, I’ve never been more proud of Indian bros. This is what we need to do, we need more people working from the inside.”
Now, though, T-Series is gaining more subscribers. This past week, PewDiePie gained an average of 92,000 subscribers per day, while T-Series hit about 135,000 per day. Social Blade projects T-Series will tie PewDiePie at 72.51 million subscribers on Dec. 2, and two days later, T-Series will move ahead with a lead of 72.78 million to 72.75 million.
From there, PewDiePie’s crown will probably be gone for good. But ultimately, it was a fight worth having and a battle that PewDiePie, with the help of plenty of friends, survived for longer than most could have imagined.
Josh Katzowitz is a staff writer at the Daily Dot specializing in YouTube and boxing. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times. A longtime sports writer, he's covered the NFL for CBSSports.com and boxing for Forbes. His work has been noted twice in the Best American Sports Writing book series.