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How T-Series won over YouTube and won a Guinness World Record

Close on the heels of becoming the world’s largest YouTube channel, T-Series has achieved another YouTube milestone – it has crossed 100 million subscribers – 102,227,892 subscribers at the time of filing this report. T-Series’ landmark has also received Guinness World Records certificate – for being the first YouTube Channel to surpass 100 million subscribers. 

A dominant player in the Indian entertainment industry, T-Series catapulted itself to the top slot with leading films, songs as well as singles (non-film music). Founded in January 2011, the T-Series YouTube Channel has 29 sub-channels and has the most viewed uploads. 

Spearheading the music and film company is Chairman and Managing Director Bhushan Kumar, who took over the reins of T-Series when he was just 19. 

Commenting on the recent development, Kumar said, “A constant surge of new music as well as early adaptation and first mover advantage went in our favour.  We pushed our content across offline media and social media platforms without any doubt about what we could achieve. It helped drive traffic to our channel. I am thankful to our loyal consumers, who repeatedly showed immense faith in our content. Also, thanks to everyone at T-Series, who helped take T-Series to new heights.” 

Neeraj Kalyan, President, T-Series, who also heads the digital division of the company, added here, “This is indeed a proud moment. Our teams have put in immense hard work to keep the T-Series flag flying high. Music for us has never been about Excel sheets, it’s not a number on a paper. It’s a passion driven by belief in our content. This milestone will further inspire us to conquer new frontiers by offering world class content served through seamless distribution pipes across platforms and to create new benchmarks for ourselves.” 

An elated Vinod Bhanushali, President – Marketing, Media and Publishing (TV) and Music Acquisitions, T-Series, remarked, “This achievement rightly proves that CONTENT IS KING. It was Gulshanji’s vision to promote new talent, create content in the form of music and films that consumers will love. Content creation that started in 1984, became available to everyone with easy navigation with just a click on YouTube. To ensure we feed the audiences with fresh content every day, we are making music via films that we are producing in-house, acquiring music and bringing back the era of music videos/ singles. We thank the entire Indian film industry and our teams for helping us and Indians world over for showering us with so much love.” 

Besides India, the T-Series’ audience base spans the UK, the US, Europe, UAE, Pakistan, Bangladesh, ASEAN, Australia, New Zealand and many other countries. 

From making music to licensing and publishing content across several media platforms, T-Series is the destination to a vast variety of content – also looking after music production, music acquisitions, movie production to marketing and distribution. 

The T-Series Vs PewDiePie race to the top 

Netizens will remember that till very recently T-Series and Swedish YouTuber Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, better known online as PewDiePie, were involved in a closed fight to be the most subscribed channel on YouTube. T-Series won this battle. 

Narrating the entire incident, Bhushan Kumar said, “Initially, we were not taking it very seriously as we have always been into making content. But after reports in the media, we realised that all he was doing was abuse and speak in an inappropriate manner. For a long time we didn’t react to all that.” 

Kumar went on to say that PewDiePie even sent an apology note stating how he regretted the way the entire thing had turned out and said that all was in good fun and not meant to defame anyone. 

“The subscriber base on our channel kept growing organically and at a fast pace. That was when we saw another negative video on his channel, where he congratulated T-Series but the video was too negative. So, we decided to respond to it and launched a campaign that was positive and received appreciation from all quarters. We then got a stay order from the Court against him for using inappropriate language and defaming our country. It made him realise that India was taking the issue very seriously,” Kumar said. 

Winning over YouTube 

Starting off with music cassettes, T-Series moved on to CDs when the technology became available. However, it took almost 10 to 15 days to bring the cassettes and CDs to the market. “When digital platform came into existence, we realised that it was a significant tool and we wanted to use this medium for our advantage as well,” Kumar said. 

Adding further, he said, “T-Series saw YouTube as a potential medium to deliver content to the viewers as it was free for them and also involved good economical advertisements for us. That was a win-win situation for both the viewers and the label.” 

Challenges, Piracy and more 

According to Kumar, the digital charges that the industry has to pay for exhibiting of films are too high, however talks are on to resolve this. He also consider ticket rates in theatres to be very expensive considering that cinema is a mass medium. But above all, getting good content for the audiences that they actually like is always a challenge. 

He also spoke about the royalty issue in music. Kumar remarked that initially, there were misunderstandings, but everything has settled now. “Nobody can fight law of the land. The music directors and writers collect their royalty and we collect our royalty too,” he added. 

He felt that piracy was not a big issue at a time when there are interactive OTT and streaming services like YouTube, Saavn, etc. Moreover, the subscription charges were also reasonable. “So, there is no point in any customer going to a pirated site,” Kumar said. 

At the same time, he acknowledged the fact that pirated copies were finding their way on different websites. However, many agencies have come up that monitor the Internet to detect cases of piracy. “For instance, if pirated content is found on YouTube, the action is swift and the pirated content is taken down immediately,” he added. 

The road ahead 

T-Series’ interests are multiple today – from movie making to the music business, production, distribution as well as the non-film business, including albums and songs. 

Kumar informed that going forward, T-Series will also get into making web series, web movies and short films, along with its filmmaking business. “Soon we will be doing something for Hotstar,” he shared. Moreover, platforms like Spotify, Amazon, etc., are already using T-Series’ music service. “That business is already there,” he added. 

While Kumar refrained from giving projections for the next five years, he maintained, “I just believe in working hard with passion and exploring. So far, it has been very good. I hope that in the next five years, too, we will have good number of films that we can entertain people with.” 

Otherwise, life could bring about many unexpected things, just like “we had never thought that T-Series would become a Guinness World record holder one day” concluded Kumar. 

Look forward to meet and listen to industry’s leading names in Digital Video, OTT, Content and Entertainment at SCREENXX.

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