Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
ABC News
ABC News

Pewdiepie's reign as most subscribed YouTuber has ended thanks to former superfan MrBeast. Here's how we got here

PewDiePie has been overtaken by Mr Beast as the most-subscribed individual on YouTube.

And if you have no idea who either of these people are, well, you're about to find out.

Warning: This story contains references to sexual assault and racist language.

This week, MrBeast, otherwise known as Jamie Donaldson, recorded more than 112 million subscribers, outstripping Pewdiepie, aka Felix Kjellberg, on a mere 111 million.

YouTube does not display exact subscriber counts publicly.

While Indian music video publisher T-Series remains YouTube's most-subscribed channel with 229 million subscribers, MrBeast and Pewdiepie have been locked in competition for the most-subscribed individual for some time.

Though neither has commented publicly on the switch, PewDiePie has previously said that he thought MrBeast would "definitely" overtake him.

"I can't wait for it to be over," he said in a video from August 2022.

"He definitely deserves it. I hope he does it."

Pewdiepie's popularity has survived multiple controversies

The Swedish-born YouTuber became one of the most-recognisable names on the platform for his "Let's Play" videos, where he would play and make often lewd commentary on video games.

In his earlier videos, Pewdiepie courted controversy for repeatedly making jokes about rape to the point of releasing a video titled "It's Raping Time".

After a backlash from fans and critics, he posted an apology video in 2013 where he resolved to stop using rape as a punchline.

From 2013, his channel grew exponentially, and he became the first person to reach 50 million subscribers in December 2016.

The same year, Forbes announced he has topped their highest-paid YouTubers list, bringing in an approximate $20 million for the year.

But just a month later, Pewdiepie came under fire again for uploading a video in which he appeared to say the n-word.

And days later, he attracted criticism again for paying two young men on freelance website Fiverr to hold up a sign that read "Death to all Jews".

Pewdiepie said in a video titled "My Response" that he was trying to see how far he could push the boundaries with Fiverr, and apologised for his use of words.

In response, YouTube cancelled an upcoming YouTubeRed series with the creator and removed him from their Google Preferred program that feeds the platform's top content to brands.

Disney-owned Maker Studios, a multi-channel network that partnered with Pewdiepie, also cut ties with him over the incident.

Despite the setback, Pewdiepie's channel continued to grow, enjoying six years as the most-subscribed channel before being knocked off by T-Series in 2019.

One of Pewdiepie's biggest supporters during his battle for supremacy with T-Series was a young MrBeast, who created a "Bro Army" to encourage people to subscribe to the elder YouTuber and bought billboards in support as well.

In 2020, Pewdiepie announced his "retirement" from YouTube but in a video in September this year said he's returned to posting videos only for fun, as he did when he first started.

Who is MrBeast, the 24-year-old worth tens of millions?

MrBeast uploaded his first YouTube video in 2013, but it wasn't until around 2018 that his outlandish stunts – many which involved giving away money and expensive electronics – set him on the road to virality.

The 24-year-old is well-renowned for his outlandish challenge videos that come complete with over-the-top sets and hundreds of thousands in prize money.

His stunts in which he donates sums of up to $US500,000 to regular people have seen him dubbed "YouTube's biggest philanthropist" by the community.

In 2021, MrBeast uploaded a recreation of Squid Games following the worldwide success of the Korean Netflix drama.

The video gave participants the chance to win $679,134 and cost $5.2 million to make according to MrBeast, whose videos are largely subsidised by brands that sponsor them.

For comparison, an episode of the real Squid Games cost around $3.7 million.

The video was a success and has over 300 million views at the time of writing.

The creator is not without his own controversy, however, attracting criticism for his past use of homophobic slurs.

Last year, The New York Times ran a profile on him where multiple former employees accused MrBeast of berating them at work and creating a toxic atmosphere.

But this didn't stop the creator from topping Forbes highest-paid YouTuber list 2021, raking in an estimated $80 million last year alone.

MrBeast has expanded his influence into more traditional business ventures like MrBeast Burgers, a chain of "ghost kitchens" – restaurants that only exist on food delivery apps and operate out of established commercial kitchens – that has partnered with more than 1,600 restaurants across the US.

He also launched a food company Feastables at the start of the year, selling his own brand of chocolate bars, MrBeast Bars.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.