PewDiePie vs T Series: Where Do the Subscribers Come From?

Since PewDiePie is, once again at time of writing, ahead of T Series in terms of subscribers, we ask where do all these subscribers even come from?

PewDiePie has the lead over T Series, once again, in the subscriber race and indeed the chase to 100,000,000 subscribers. The combined subscriber count is approaching 190M and of course, there's absolutely no duplication in numbers here, because there's no crossover between PewDiePie's audience and T Series' audience. Nobody's going to subscribe to both channels, are they? Or, they are and then, they're going to unsubscribe from one channel to bring the numbers down. You can see the issue here.

Now, of course PewDiePie and T Series subscriber sources are private. We're not going to have access to that, but we can investigate where subscribers typically come from for a channel and then you can decide where you think both PewDiePie and T Series' subscribers are generally coming from.

PewDiePie & T Series: Where are Subscribers Coming From?

We're going to be using VidIQ as a reference point to find out all of the different subscriber sources there are and you can do that by going to analytics, clicking the "see more" link on any of the channel-wide graphs, and then selecting subscriber source. If you have your own channel, it might be worth doing this right now to follow along.

Now, where else could we start but with the YouTube watch page? This is when a viewer found the content so valuable that they were compelled to click the "subscribe" button as they were watching the video. PewDiePie's "Congratulations" dis-track has amassed 65M views in a week, which has helped him bring in over 1,500,000 subscribers in that time.

Now, not all of those subscribers are coming from one video. PewDiePie produces daily content, after all. But in the previous week, he got 950,000 subscribers. Logic dictates that valuable videos that connects with your audience will bring in more subscribers and it always helps when the video goes viral, even if YouTube never puts it on the "trending page."

Just to make sure we're fair and balanced on this - if we look at this purely from a views versus subscriber perspective, things do get really interesting. Last June, before the subscriber rates really got going, T Series got eight times as many views, but only five times as many subscribers as PewDiePie. If we fast forward to December, when the race was in full effect, PewDiePie doubles his view count, while T Series increased theirs by around 40%.

But when it comes to subscribers, PewDiePie has increased his count by almost 800%. T Series on the other hand, have increased their sub-count 50%. More or less, in line with their increased view count. I think all of this tells us something really interesting on both sides.

PewDiePie & T Series: Views vs Subscribers

First of all, T Series is terrible at converting views into subscribers and that is due to the nature of their very diverse content. You've got all sorts of music genres on one channel and if you've looked at T Series, their views spike depending on what type of video is being pushed out on their channel. As for PewDiePie, 200% increase in views, 800% increase in subscribers. Time for an eyebrow raise. Of course, we kind of have an explanation for that. It's all of these other YouTubers, such as Mr. Beast and Markiplier rallying behind PewDiePie, but just because he gets some subscribers, it doesn't mean he actually gets more viewers from it and build an engaged audience with his channel. In most cases, a channel will get most of its subscribers from the video watch pages.

On the other hand, there are a bundle of subscriber sources that generate virtually no subscribers. Those being, the "subscribe" button on your channel page, subscriptions from the search results based on queries, interactive cards and end screens within videos, and so on. But two subscribe sources that do deserve more scrutiny however, are ‘other’ and ‘other YouTube channel’.

What does ‘other’ refer to? T Series, being a massive Bollywood film and music label, has external ways to encourage people to subscribe to their channel. One such place being their official website. ‘Other YouTube Channel’ is another potential fountain of subscribers too. Again, T Series has the opportunity to combine the might of all of it's YouTube channels to create a network of subscriber opportunities and they do. We took a deeper look into this and it also seems that individual videos from other channels can push subscribers to you too.

Not quite sure how that differs to watch page subscriptions, but if we look at it from this point of view, the T Series channel pushes out three to four videos a day, that's in comparison to PewDiePie, who averages a single video a day. That means, more opportunities for T Series to get videos suggested on other videos and more potential subscribers from that other YouTube channel source.

How YouTube Channels Also Lose Subscribers

Now so far, we've only talked about how each channel can gain subscribers, but don't forget, you can also lose subscribers as well. You can of course, gain and lose subscribers from all sources, but there are only a few that generate negative numbers and of particular interest in the PewDiePie versus T Series race, closed accounts is likely the one that's abnormally high.

If you're familiar with the subscriber race, you'll have seen those moments where either PewDiePie or T Series gain or lose tens of thousands of subscribers in a single second, which is impossible, unless there is a subscriber purge or audit. YouTube do talk about this in their "help" pages, citing spam subscribers and channels that have been terminated. YouTube have done big purges, but you'll see fluctuations of 1,000 subscribers here and there happen on a near daily basis when it comes to PewDiePie versus T Series. Closed accounts are those terminated due to policy violations and spam subscribers are those subscribers gained through artificial means. I'll just say it one more time, 200% increase in views, 800% increase in subscribers.

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