How Many YouTube Channels Are There?

by Matthias Funk | | Category: YouTube Marketing

As of 2020, there are more than 37 million YouTube channels out there. The number of channels is growing strong: last year it grew more than 23%. People all around the world are creating a YouTube channel, and uploading 500 hours of video every minute.

The 38 million YouTube channels differ a lot: some channels are tiny, some are massive. Some have a lot of videos, some only feature one. Some are from brands, some from creators, some are only private…

They are diverse like animals. I’ve recently illustrated it this way:

number of youtube channels in 2020

Each animal stands for a certain number of YouTube subscribers. The data for this illustration comes from Socialblade.

Keep in mind that Socialblade requires a minimum of five subscribers to have a channel counted. However, generally, the channels that only have 5-10 are not always counted either. That means the number of channels is much higher than the 38 million overall channel numbers presented.

In the last year, the total number has grown by 7 million, that’s a plus of 23% compared to 2019.

number of youtube channels evolution 2017 to 2020

Interestingly the number of channels featuring between 100 to 1,000 subscribers – the frogs in the illustration above – grew strong 2020. Apparently, it got a bit easier to crack the 1,000 subs milestone.

15 million creators upload 80 million videos every month  Tubular Labs (Sept 2019)

How many YouTubers have 1 million subscribers

biggest youtube channels

As of November 2020, there are around 22,000 YouTube channels out there having over 1 million subscribers. They are the dinosaurs of the YouTube space! Massive in size. Most specimens started ages ago. And it took them very long to grow this size.

YouTube’s CEO Susan Wojcicki states that in 2019 the number of YouTube channels having more than 1 million subscribers grew by 65%. They are the foundation for the business model of the video platform and YouTube’s revenues.

Back in 2016, there were only 2,000 channels that had over one million subscribers. Since then every day four YouTube channels hit this 1 million subs milestone. The total number of channels with 1 million subs has grown by a factor of 8. In 3 years only!

700 of these YouTube “dinosaurs” already feature over 10 million subscribers.

Number of YouTube channels with 10M+ subs

Nearly half of all these 10M+ channels are from the US. The 2nd most popular country of top YouTube channels is India with more than 60 channels featuring more than 10 million subs.

Mexico is home to most top Spanish language channels, directly followed by Spain. Big markets like France are home to only three 10M+ channels, in Germany, there’s only one even: Kurzgesagt.

Two channels recently managed to break the 100M subscriber barrier: Felix Kjellberg’s PewDiePie channel and T-Series from India. They have long fought over the #1 position. T-Series finally won. At the time this article was written T-Series featured 161 million subscribers.

Top 10 Most Subscribed YouTube Channels

Rank Channel Subscribers
1. T-Series 161M
2. PewDiePie 107M
3. Cocomelon – Nursery Rhymes 98M
4. SET India 88M
5. 5-Minute Crafts 70M
6. Canal KondZilla 69M
7. WWE 52M
8. Zee Music Company 47M
9. Dude Perfect 47M
10. Justin Bieber 47M

 

Other huge “dinosaur” channels are for instance:

You can also find a list of the most subscribed channels on Wikipedia.

Channels like these qualify for YouTube’s Gold benefit level. This means they get VIP support from YouTube. Among other things, they get access to special production programs and YouTube also organizes fan events for these channels.

How many YouTube channels have over 100,000 subscribers

YouTube Channels with More Than 100.000 Subscribers

Around 230,000 YouTube channels have over 100,000 subscribers. I call these Gorilla channels. They are heavy-weight, managed by professionals. They are here to stay. And they earn significant money with YouTube!

When you reach the 100k subscriber milestone YouTube gives you a partner manager who supports you regarding further growth. Within YouTube’s benefits program this stage is called the Silver stage.

Over the year 2019, the number of creators making either five or six-figure income has grown by 40%.

YouTube Creator Award for passing 100.000 subscribers - Silver Level

Sample gorilla channels include:

The total number of high-subscriber Gorilla channels grew by 40% in 2020.

At the bottom of the food chain there are insects:

Who has the least subscribers on YouTube?

small youtube channels

At the lower end of the YouTube ecosystem, there are tons of tiny little channels. I call them bugs. 20 million channels have between 10 to 100 subs, around 12 million channels feature subscriber numbers between 100 to 1.000.

37 million channels in total show more than 10 subscribers.

Examples include:

  • Schrack Technik Romania  – the Romanian subsidiary of an electrical equipment company Schrack hosting brand videos
  • Zyxter – a new gaming channel starting out

Most of the small channels aren’t really active and get bullied by YouTubers higher up the food chain.

The German researcher Mathias Bärtl proved that in 2016 the top 3 percent of channels get 90 percent of the viewership. This means that 90 percent of YouTube creators are fighting over the remaining 10 percent. However, the data also show that there is space for newcomers to become successful quickly in categories with an expedient demand-supply ratio.

 

Channels with less than 10 subscribers most often are run by individuals hosting private videos.

How many of these channels exist… Only YouTube knows…

My guess is at least 20 million. Probably much more… What do you think?