What are Telugu's best YouTube channels

This YouTube channel will soon be bigger than PewDiePie

YouTuber Felix Kjellberg, better known as PewDiePie, currently operates the largest channel on the video platform with 65.7 million subscribers. But now this title is being challenged by T-Series, an Indian entertainment channel operated by a film and music studio from Mumbai.

T-Series currently has 60.3 million subscribers. The channel mostly shows music videos and soundtracks from Bollywood films - capitalizing on one of the largest industries in the world. The videos that are published on the channel deliver what one would expect from a Bollywood channel: motley dance scenes, as in the music video for the new "horror comedy" Stree, and a good deal of drama. One of the channel's most viewed videos with over 560 million views is the "Lahore" music video.

T-Series was founded by Gulshan Kumar who was shot dead by criminals on the street in 1997. Before that, Kumar had had a steep career: While he initially sold cheap cassettes in his parents' shop, within 20 years he rose to become one of the largest producers in Bollywood.

On YouTube, T-Series earns up to 10 million euros a month with over 12,000 videos and gains an average of 150,000 new subscribers every day. This emerges from the evaluation of the social media analysis service Social Blade. If Social Blade's growth forecasts are correct, T-Series will have overtaken PewDiePie in just two months, as T-Series would have 67.9 million subscribers and Kjellberg's channel 67.4 million.

The rapid growth of T-Series also matches the growth of Internet usage in India. 500 million residents and thus around a third are currently online on the subcontinent. Even if the market is huge, the growth potential is still great.

For Rajan Shah, co-founder of the Association of South Asians in Media and Entertainment, it's no surprise that T-Series is becoming the biggest player on YouTube, for him it was just a matter of time. "I'm just surprised that it took so long for T-Series or any other Bollywood channel to become YouTube's biggest channel," he told Motherboard.


Also on the motherboard: A visit to the hobbyist who builds the most powerful DIY lasers on YouTube


T-Series cleverly manages to tap into parts of the Indian audience that would otherwise be spread over various regional channels - because T-Series not only offers content in Hindu, but also in Kannada, Telugu, Tamil and Bengali. This strategy could pay off if previously poorly connected parts of the country come online and will help T-Series hold their own against competitors in the Bollywood scene like Zee and Eros Now.

Despite its huge potential, the Indian music industry is still lagging behind other major markets in the world. Music services such as Spotify are only of limited use in the country; comparable Indian apps such as Saavn and Gaana are only widespread in urban areas. "Bollywood and Indian music is one of the most popular and greatest musical genres in the world," says Shah. But since most Indians consume their music over the radio or videos, Bollywood hits would never appear in the international sales charts next to Beyoncé or Jay-Z.

Next, T-Series plans to expand beyond the Indian market. It shouldn't be too difficult, after all, Indian music, and Bollywood in particular, is popular not only in India, but also in parts of the Middle East and Africa.

PewDiePie also noticed that another channel is hot on his heels. In a video uploaded on August 29, he jokingly urged fans to fight the T-Series. Since then, messages from Kjellberg's followers have been found at the top of the comments among numerous videos from T-Series. Nevertheless, the triumphant advance of the Indian music channel cannot be stopped - everyone can see this for themselves in live streams on YouTube, which compare the subscriber numbers of PewDiePie and T-Series in real time.

Follow Motherboard on Facebook, Instagram,Snapchat andTwitter

Get the best of VICE emailed to you every week!

By subscribing to the VICE newsletter, you consent to receiving electronic communications from VICE, which may contain advertising or sponsored content.