Indians were obsessed with three things on the internet last year: music, music, and more music.
The category had a subscriber base of 340 million at the end of 2018, according to a report by the Noida-based video analytics firm Vidooly. Entertainment, comprising mainly TV channels in Hindi, Telugu, Bengali, and Bhojpuri, was the second most popular category with over 226 million subscribers.
The ranking was calculated according to the number of views and subscribers of 2,900 India-based YouTube channels in 18 different categories. The study weeded out YouTube channels of political parties and personalities, channels that freeboot videos (lift from other channels sans permission), pages that upload video memes using existing movie, music, or viral video clippings, and YouTube channels of brands that upload 30-second television commercials.
Regional is a winner
The top videos in every category featured some Hindi content, a sign of how important the vernacular internet ecosystem in India is.
The 20 most-viewed YouTube channels were all Hindi and comprised mostly music and entertainment. With the exception of Aaj Tak, there was no channel from the news and politics section.
T-Series, the homegrown channel that has been churning out a sizeable number of original singles and music videos of late, eclipsed others’ popularity. The record label has been locked in a fierce battle with PewDiePie, which has the highest subscriber base in the world. It’s even threatening the pole position of PewDiePie, which is run by Swedish video-game commentator Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, on the back of the massive popularity of Bollywood movies and songs.
And not just Hindi but even Punjabi music channels—Speed Records and T-Series Apna Punjabi—were extremely popular.
Chuchu TV Nursery Rhymes and Kids Songs, at no. 6, is one of the world’s most popular YouTube channels for children. “We want to be the Disney of the digital age,” Vinoth Chandar, who created the channel in February 2013, had told Quartz earlier. Three of its videos have crossed the one-billion mark despite facing stiff competition from the likes of Little Baby Bum, KidsTV, HooplaKidz, and others.
Indian YouTubers rule
A look at the comedy rankings also tells the story of original content creators in India.
With over 11 million viewers hooked onto his channel, Bhuvan Bam, the first Indian YouTuber to cross the 10-million subscribers mark, was the runner-up among comedy channels. Amit Bhadana, who crossed the milestone shortly after Bam, topped the list with over 12 million loyalists.
Prajakta Koli, who posts YouTube videos under the psuedonym MostlySane, made it to the top 20 in comedy, shedding light on the budding success of social media influencers in the country today. Especially since brands have started tapping into them in a big way.