The race (or should we say fight?) to be the biggest star on YouTube is reaching new levels with each passing day. The PewDiePie vs. T-Series battle has been in the limelight for the past few months, mainly due to PewDiePie and his fans, and it is not expected to settle down anytime soon.
PewDiePie vs. T-Series: is this a one-sided war?
It appears the PewDiePie vs. T-Series battle is a one-sided affair; the 28-year-old Swedish YouTuber is waging a war he seems to have declared himself. Meanwhile it seems Bollywood music label T-Series is not “bothered” by this race.
“I am really not bothered about this race. I don’t even know why PewDiePie is taking this so seriously. He’s getting his people to push him, promote him. We are not competing with him,” T-Series owner Bhushan Kumar told the BBC.
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However, Kumar admits that this fight has helped his company attract “global eyeballs. Everybody’s approaching us. International artists want to work with us. Forget about the rankings — our reach is the highest.”
PewDiePie is the highest-paid YouTube star. He posts vlogs and video game commentaries on his eight-year-old channel. T-Series is a 35-year-old music label and film production company. About 15% of the company’s revenue comes from its YouTube channel, which is run by a team of 13 people, according to the BBC.
PewDiePie currently has about 77 million subscribers, more than the combined numbers of Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran. T-Series, on the other hand, has about 75 million subscribers. With just days remaining before the New Year, it will be interesting to see if PewDiePie is able to retain his title.
PewDiePie’s fans are taking the fight offline
Fans of PewDiePie are leaving no stone unturned to get their star across the finish line as the most popular channel. The “subscribe to PewDiePie” campaign is being heavily promoted on social media platforms globally. Calls for support to PewDiePie are coming from almost all corners of the world, including India, home to rival T-Series.
Calls for support are seen offline as well. Last month fellow YouTuber “MrBeast” bought billboard and radio ads in his home city to promote the “subscribe to PewDiePie” campaign. Another YouTuber, Justin Roberts, spent about $1 million to buy a billboard in Times Square asking New Yorkers to subscribe to PewDiePie.
One fan even hacked thousands of Internet-connected printers worldwide to print out messages in support of PewDiePie’s campaign. Last week The Wall Street Journal’s website was hacked and a post asking users to subscribe to PewDiePie’s channel was published. The post also offered an apology on behalf of the publication for “misrepresenting” the YouTuber in an article last year related to anti-Semitic and racist content in his videos.
Other impacts felt offline as well
The PewDiePie vs. T-Series fight has also highlighted the alleged connection between PewDiePie and anti-Semitic views. This was probably the primary reason why the WSJ’s website was hacked in the first place.
This was not the only such incident. A video uploaded by a student also attracted a lot of controversy. In the video, which went viral, someone is heard telling students that promoting PewDiePie is the same as “prompting ignorance, racism, genocide, and anti-Semitism.” The video was reportedly uploaded by a student at Hamilton International Middle School in Seattle, Wash. The student in the video claimed it was their history teacher talking in the video.
PewDiePie also talked about that video in one of his own videos. Initially, the identities of the school and teacher were not known. Now it appears that after the video went viral, the identities of the school and teacher are no longer a secret.
According to the Seattle Police Department, both the teacher and the school are getting threats. The teacher is also reportedly being targeted by internet users who want him to be doxxed, which would mean his personal information would be made public.
Another offline impact is related to Ubisoft developer Dianna Lora, who called on the gaming industry to break ties with PewDiePie. What angered fans was the wording of the tweet, which called on the game industry to “end this dude.” Some fans perceived the tweet as a death threat against PewDiePie.
The tweet triggered an anti-Ubisoft campaign online with users calling for a boycott of Lora’s game The Division 2 and Ubisoft products as well. After this, there were reports that Lora was fired from her job, but later, it turned out that she was still working with Ubisoft.
One other incident relates to The Verge’s Julia Alexander, who said she is getting threats from PewDiePie fans.
“After reporting last week that Kjellberg [PewDiePie] had recommended an anti-Semitic YouTube channel to his followers, her Twitter DMs were filling up with threats, insults and hateful messages,” The Washington Post reported.