The Top 10 Most Subscribed Channels of All Time on YouTube – What’s the Appeal?

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There are only a few channels I actually subscribe to on YouTube. I would even say that I would call myself a rather active viewer of the site, checking out several videos a day. Though there are plenty of opportunities for brands to utilize the services that YouTube provides, the videos that get the most exposure are the ones from individuals. Here are the top 10 most subscribed YouTube channels out there. Maybe you can help me figure out why.

#10 – sxephil

  • Style: Commentary / Comedy
  • Member since: 9/06
  • Subscribers: 457,853
  • Channel Views: 16,920,739

What’s the appeal? – 23 year old Philip DeFranco hosts a fun, talking-head commentary show that recaps the week’s news events in a fast-paced / quick edit kind of way. He is more than tolerable and seems to have the smarts to wax philosophical on some of these topics. He also keeps his shows short, which could be a part of the appeal. He also has some sketches on another channel, which aren’t very funny.

#9 – VenetianPrincess

  • Style: Variety
  • Member Since: 9/06
  • Subscribers: 471,170
  • Channel Views: 8,770,226

What’s the Appeal? – She’s a hot girl being silly and looks sort of like Megan Fox. She also makes fun of popular trends among teens. That’s about the extent of it as far as I can tell.

 

#8 – WhattheBuckShow

  • Style: Celebrity Humor
  • Member Since: 05/07
  • Subscribers: 476,483
  • Channel Views: 9,512,790

What’s the Appeal? – Michael Buckley, the flamboyant host of the What the Buck? Show, is like an E! personality in overdrive. In fact, television personalities can probably learn a lot from watching this fast talking maniac entertain and stir up his audience.

#7 – JonasBrothersMusic

  • Style: Pop Music
  • Member Since: 05/07
  • Subscribers: 544,447
  • Channel Views: 31,451,513

What’s the Appeal? – I don’t think the J-Bros are hurting for record or ticket sales, but this channel is doing some great things for the brand. By offering up these official videos and live performances on YouTube, Hollywood Records is able to gauge sentiment and react to fans directly.

#6 – Machinma

  • Style: Gaming News and Info
  • Member Since: 01/06
  • Subscribers: 554,262
  • Channel Views: 28,024,713

What’s the Appeal? – This channel works more like a channel should, IMHO, as it serves up a variety of different content within a genre. That genre is gaming, and the shows are presented perfectly for the audience. With shows like Inside Gaming, which features humor, news, and great footage from new and upcoming games, it is easy to see how this channel gets viewers.

#5 – Kevjumba

  • Style: Entertainment
  • Member Since: 07/06
  • Subscribers: 556,283
  • Channel Views: 17,784,595

What’s the Appeal? – This guy waxes philosophic about Asian culture and random nerdery. He also messes with his dad ala Bam Margera. Kev’s fans tend to stick up for him in his comments, which is a great example of how audiences can become quickly loyal.

#4 – UniversalMusicGroup

  • Style: Music / VLogging (?)
  • Member Since: 08/06
  • Subscribers: 775,848
  • Channel Views: 29,959,127

What’s the Appeal? – The only other brand channel in the top 10, the Universal Music Group uses its YouTube Channel to promote new videos from hot artists. Unfortunately, the videos have been disabled for embedding. Regardless, an official channel on which to watch hit videos still beats anything that MTV is doing.

 

#3 – Smosh

  • Style: Sketch Comedy
  • Member Since: 11/05
  • Subscribers: 900,341
  • Channel Views: 33,724,717

What’s the Appeal? – A couple of guys making videos about stuff they think is funny. The sketches are pretty well produced, and I’m sure that if they had more of a budget, things would be even better.

#2 – NigaHiga

  • Style: Asian (?)
  • Member Since: 07/06
  • Subscribers: 1,194,398
  • Channel Views: 40,474,160

What’s the Appeal? – NigaHiga has 37 videos. He also has over 1 million subscribers. His videos are energetic and somewhat entertaining, but not exactly what I’d consider “funny.” Maybe I’m a critic, but I keep looking for what is sharable about these videos and I can’t seem to find anything.

#1 – Fred

  • Style: “Humor”
  • Member Since: 10/05
  • Subscribers: 1,251,284
  • Channel Views: 52,281,923

What’s the Appeal? – Honestly, I have no clue.

I often wonder if YouTube is really a good marketing outlet for brands. After viewing these top 10 subscribed channels, I am more baffled than ever as to what will resonate with audiences. I think it also proves that there is no real way of telling exactly what will go “viral” and what won’t. Moreover, it also says a lot about the fact that user generated content is going to outweigh anything slickly polished and produced. So brands, pay attention before you try to produce something and expect it to go viral.

But I am still left with the question of “why?” these channels are so popular. Perhaps a more intriguing question would be “HOW?” If you have any insight, I’d love to hear it.


42 Comments

vincetastic says:

July 7, 2009 at 9:08 pm

Hey Jeremy, this is an excellent top ten list. It’s interesting to see that comedy channels dominate the top ten. It makes sense to me,I tend to forward more the sketch comedy clips than anything else. You can cross-post this or any too ten list you come up with. to our site http://www.toptentopten.com/ and link back to your site. We are trying to create a directory for top ten lists where people can find your site. The coolest feature is you can let other people vote on the rankings of your list.

Griffin Farley says:

July 8, 2009 at 1:57 pm

Great post Jeremy and good insights on the need for humor in spreadable links vincetastic.

Angie says:

July 26, 2009 at 3:30 am

That kid in the last video made me laugh, I found that one to be the most entertaining. 😀

momodrumix says:

August 3, 2009 at 12:06 pm

thanks for this so interesting infos

tylertalkstvonyoutube says:

October 28, 2009 at 1:36 am

i this acualy right, or just guessing????

DiscoverySound says:

November 11, 2009 at 11:40 am

I cant seem to find a site I came across about a month ago that had all the top tens of youtube, twitter, facebook and others. It is driving me nuts because I really liked that site and was a fool not to bookmark. I have since deleted my cookies before trying to remember the site. If anyone can help me find this site I will send you $20.00 by paypal.

Thanks

LillianBell says:

November 23, 2009 at 3:55 am

Fred is probably one of the most-loved, most-hated people on YouTube. His videos are pretty funny, but just the fact that a 15-year-old kid acting like a 6-year-old is the #1 subscribed channel on YouTube generates a lot of hate. He’s funny, yes, but I wouldn’t say the best thing on the site.

Besides Fred, only person I’m subscribed to here is sxephil. Funny stuff. Makes the news interesting.

alexcantsing says:

January 1, 2010 at 1:30 am

actually nigahiga is now #1 and fred is 2 😛

Bethanne Monroe says:

March 7, 2010 at 9:20 pm

You said Machinma works more like a channel should. Who’s to say how a channel should work? Take a look at who at the YouTube friends of Fred” –there’s the answer to his success. Tons of lonely little kids. His videos resonate with them.

julie says:

April 14, 2010 at 4:33 am

what about community channel?

wtfman says:

June 2, 2010 at 12:14 pm

where is shane dawson???!!!

roy says:

June 5, 2010 at 1:27 am

Shane Dawson is actually number 3 actually

Yocool777 says:

June 20, 2010 at 2:45 am

Here are the updated rankings ( 6/19/10 )
1. nigahiga
2. Fred
3. ShaneDawsonTV
4. smosh
5. RayWilliamJohnson
6. sxephil
7. machinima
8. ShaneDawsonTV2
9. universalmusicgroup
10. davedays

johy says:

June 27, 2010 at 1:04 am

now it’s nigahiga

james says:

July 16, 2010 at 4:50 pm

fred has so many subscribers because youtube decided he was a marketable because he is suitably bland and non offensive. they promoted the hell of of him so all the add companies wouldn’t be afraid to put theres adds next to his videos.

Superfireflower says:

July 17, 2010 at 4:08 pm

Cool list! I’m gonna bump Chuggaaconroy up to the top ten! Who’s with me! *Crickets* Anyone?

SSEEZZ says:

July 20, 2010 at 12:10 pm

ray is not on ur list? thaats wrong

Azmi Anuar says:

July 21, 2010 at 1:01 pm

This needs to be updated it doent’s have Shane Dawson….

Nicko Gibson says:

July 24, 2010 at 3:44 pm

Cool, I like your critique. I watch youtube every day but don’t really subscribe to any of these besides Machinima =P. I

Makell Bird says:

August 31, 2010 at 10:55 pm

Well since were all here// subscribe to my youtube channel! http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=makell

I actually do rants, interviews with celebs, AND reviews
hahaha technically this isn’t spam

Kieferschoberg says:

November 3, 2010 at 1:30 am

ray william johnson has more views and subscribers than all of these people.

SchoolSpeech Org says:

February 24, 2011 at 6:31 pm

Hi Jeremy, I was just looking for interesting channels!
Do you know if there are channels on youtube that only publish subtitled video?

SchoolSpeech Org says:

February 24, 2011 at 6:31 pm

Hi Jeremy, I was just looking for interesting channels!
Do you know if there are channels on youtube that only publish subtitled video?

Koowie says:

April 19, 2011 at 2:13 am

I still can’t believe there are Youtube millionaires.

Koowie says:

April 19, 2011 at 2:13 am

I still can’t believe there are Youtube millionaires.

Blackbletwant2be says:

May 11, 2011 at 8:52 pm

thats not accurate shane dawson should be in there somewhere

Craig Carter says:

May 23, 2011 at 1:42 pm

Shane has become insanely popular over the past few years. The list is two years old so it’s probably changed quite a bit since it was written. 

Craig Carter says:

May 23, 2011 at 1:42 pm

Shane has become insanely popular over the past few years. The list is two years old so it’s probably changed quite a bit since it was written. 

Bojangles5778 says:

July 25, 2011 at 2:01 am

rooster teeth has over 1 million subscribers

RealTalk says:

August 24, 2011 at 10:02 pm

RAY WILLIAM JOHNSON
IJUSTINE
SHANE DAWSON
EPICMEAL TIME
MICHELLE PHAN
TOBUSCUS

Jarod Morris says:

December 4, 2011 at 4:58 am

Some of these channels that have ~500,000 subscribers but not even 10M views is pathetic.  I’m more impressed by someone that has 30M+ views and 25K or so subscribers. That shows loyalty among subscribers which is more likely evidence of good content.  Check out some of the popular cooking channels or how to crafts and woodworking. Those are fiercely loyal subscribers.

Jarod Morris says:

December 4, 2011 at 4:58 am

Some of these channels that have ~500,000 subscribers but not even 10M views is pathetic.  I’m more impressed by someone that has 30M+ views and 25K or so subscribers. That shows loyalty among subscribers which is more likely evidence of good content.  Check out some of the popular cooking channels or how to crafts and woodworking. Those are fiercely loyal subscribers.

Mban says:

December 22, 2011 at 10:52 pm

I think its interesting that phillip is the only one that actually talks about news and is humerous at the same time. He should be higher on the list.

increase youtube views says:

February 16, 2012 at 11:45 am

its really a great share of the list helpful for everyone 

increase youtube views says:

February 16, 2012 at 11:45 am

its really a great share of the list helpful for everyone 

youtube views and subscribers says:

April 15, 2012 at 7:25 am

NEW YORK and LOS ANGELES, April 13, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — SMOSH, an online leader in teen and young adult comedy content and the third-most subscribed to channel on YouTube, today announced that.

youtube views and subscribers says:

April 15, 2012 at 7:25 am

NEW YORK and LOS ANGELES, April 13, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — SMOSH, an online leader in teen and young adult comedy content and the third-most subscribed to channel on YouTube, today announced that.

Rasreds says:

June 22, 2012 at 2:17 am

Smosh is hilarious. I almost died laughing, keep up the good work guys. I dont have a youtube account because im 10 years old, but if i did this would be the people i would subscribe to: toby turner, shane dawson, and smosh so yeah. If all of them were combined, i wouldve died laughing in a minute. Sorry for not using some punctuation. I was too lazy.

Buy Youtube Views says:

August 10, 2012 at 7:09 am

YouTube views will increase whenever you make really very good videos. Having success with this is not difficult. 

Buy Youtube Views says:

August 10, 2012 at 7:09 am

YouTube views will increase whenever you make really very good videos. Having success with this is not difficult. 

joelle says:

August 30, 2012 at 2:26 am

jenna marbles has 3,972201 subscribers and shes a girl girl power

joelle says:

August 30, 2012 at 2:26 am

jenna marbles has 3,972201 subscribers and shes a girl girl power

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