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

Jeremy S. Griffin.

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.


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

  1. vincetastic

    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.

  2. DiscoverySound

    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

  3. LillianBell

    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.

  4. Bethanne Monroe

    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.

  5. Yocool777

    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

  6. james

    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.

  7. Superfireflower

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

  8. Craig Carter

    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. 

  9. Craig Carter

    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. 

  10. Jarod Morris

    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.

  11. Jarod Morris

    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.

  12. Mban

    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.

  13. Rasreds

    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.

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