What just happened? Even if you don’t spend much time on YouTube, you’ll probably have heard of PewDiePie. The Swedish creator, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, has been the most-subscribed person on the platform for over a decade, but that reign came to an end this week when he was surpassed by Jimmy Donaldson, better known as MrBeast.
It was back in August 2013 when PewDiePie became the most-subscribed person on YouTube, just over three years after starting his channel, which at the time mainly consisted of Let’s Play videos. He’s appeared on talk shows, and guest starred in TV episodes, once playing himself in a 2014 episode of South Park. He’s also been no stranger to controversy, but that hasn’t stopped him from amassing 111 million YouTube subscribers.
Another contender for PewDiePie’s crown has been breathing down his neck in recent times. When he first started his channel in 2012, MrBeast uploaded Call of Duty and Minecraft videos, but eventually moved onto the content his channel is now known for: giving away massive cash prizes for competitions and stunts.
PewDiePie himself admitted in August that MrBeast was likely to surpass him. After his rival reached 100 million subs, PewDiePie said he “definitely” would become number one and “deserves it” because PewDiePie had retired from YouTube nearly two years ago, even though he keeps uploading videos to his channel.
I just bought 1,111 lottery tickets, something is telling me I’ll win pic.twitter.com/AMsbh8vzvN
— MrBeast (@MrBeast) November 12, 2022
PewDiePie was right in his prediction. MrBeast now has 112 million subscribers, making him the most-subscribed individual on YouTube. However, his is not the most-subscribed channel. That title goes to Indian record label and film production company T-Series, which once had an online rivalry with PewDiePie. It has 229 million subscribers, though an entire team runs the channel.
A lot of people will be happy to see MrBeast on top. Disney dropped PewDiePie in 2017 after he posted a series of videos featuring anti-Semitic messages, the same year he made a racial slur during a stream.
MrBeast, by contrast, has a family-friendly persona and is famed for his charity work. The YouTuber has a separate philanthropy-themed channel with 10 million subs. He also has a licensed charity that functions as a food bank, which makes weekly deliveries to local communities, and has raised funds for environmental issues.