The T-Series YouTube channel reached the stunning benchmark of 100 million unique subscribers on 29 May, outrunning Swedish vlogger and video gamer PewDiePie, whose fan base currently stands at 96.5 million people across the globe.
The ambitious achievement of a 100-million army of fans secured T-Series’ management an official Guinness World Records certificate, which was handed to the company’s chairman, Bhushan Kumar, in a solemn ceremony in Mumbai on 14 June.
Having expressed his delight and gratitude to his closely-knit team, Bhushan Kumar stressed that they were not the first to embrace the competition, adding that they were compelled to engage in the battle following a video Felix Kjellberg, aka PewDiePie, posted last September mocking T-Series and India in general.
“We never started this fight or competition”, the T-Series chief said. “He started it by saying wrong things about India and our company. So we started a subtle campaign, ‘Bharat wins YouTube’”, Cinestaan quoted Kumar as saying.
He went on by remarking, “Again, that was not competitive and we weren’t saying anything wrong about him”. “He is independently number one in mine and everyone’s eyes. There shouldn’t be any hard feelings. But he has [done that] and we can’t do anything about it”, Kumar said in a reconciliatory remark.
He added that the competitive spirit fully engulfed him only when others started to show interest:
“I was not into being number one. But when everybody started talking about it, then obviously the excitement level became big”, he said.
Detailing the way his company has grown from a music label to a movie production entity, Kumar credited his late father Gulshan Kumar and his idea of creating devotional video and audio cassettes. “We only read aarti in books. He thought of turning it into cassettes for old people who can’t read”, the top manager continued.
The Indian music and movie giant has until recently been into a tug of war with the individual content creator Felix Kjellberg, who had retained the top YouTuber crown since 2013. However, as India has gone increasingly online lately, T-Series has received massive backing from the local public.
As T-Series closed in on PewDiePie, the company began a campaign dubbed “Bharat for YouTube”, where it got film industry personalities to urge fellow Indians to subscribe to T-Series on YouTube so that it could become the channel with the most subscribers. The Swede ultimately ditched the race in late April and admitted his defeat.