As of 2018, there are more than 23 million YouTube channels out there. This number is based on data provided by Social Blade. However, people all around the world are signing up for YouTube accounts, developing a YouTube channel, and uploading their videos every second of every day.
The 23 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:
Each animal stands for a certain number of YouTube subscribers
- Dinosaurs – they have more than 1 million subscribers –> anyone at that level is considered a YouTube superstar.
- Gorillas have more than 100,000 subscribers.
- Deers feature more than 10,000 subscribers.
- Foxes are channels with a subscriber count of 1.000 to 10.000
- Frogs are at the lower end of the animal kingdom and have more than 100 subscribers but less than 1.000.
- Bugs are channels having between 10 and 99 subscribers.
Keep in mind that Social Blade (the raw data comes from there) requires a minimum of five subscribers to have a channel counted. However, generally, the channels that only have 5-10 are not always counted. And, most of those with 7-8 subscribers (which is over the required five) aren’t always counted either. That means the number of channels is probably much higher than the 26 million overall channel numbers presented.
The Biggest YouTube Channels in the World
As of 2019, there are around 8.000 YouTube channels out there having more than 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 recently mentioned that in 2018 the number of YouTube channels having more than 1 million subscribers nearly doubled. Three years ago in 2016, there were only 2,000 channels that had over one million subscribers. Compared to today the number has quadrupled. On average, about four YouTube channels hit 1 million subscribers every single day.
Around 200 of these dinosaur channels already feature more than 10 million subscribers. The most prominent ones are Felix Kjellberg’s PewDiePie channel and Indian T-Series. Both of them have more than 80 million subscribers and currently fight over the #1 position.
Other dinosaur channels are for instance:
- Cute Life Hacks – the biggest YouTube channel of an Austrian creator
- Red Bull – the biggest YouTube brand channel
- Freekickerz – the biggest German YouTube channel
- Justin Bieber – The biggest YouTube channel of a musician
- Baby Big Brain
You can find a list of the most subscribed channels also 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.
YouTube Channels with More Than 100k Subscribers
Currently, around 80.000 YouTube channels feature more than 100.000 subscribers. I call these Gorilla channels. They are heavy-weight, managed by professionals. They are here to stay.
When you reach this 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.
Sample gorilla channels include:
At the bottom of the food chain there are insects:
Small YouTube Channels
At the lower end of the YouTube ecosystem, there are tons of tiny little channels. I call them bugs. As of 2019, there are around 11 million channels that feature between ten and 100 subscribers. 22 million channels show more than 10 subscribers.
Most of these tiny channels aren’t really active and get bullied by YouTubers higher up the food chain. Normally they feature only very few videos. Some of them are creators starting out, some are brand channels. This means brands use YouTube as their video hosting platform. Yet they aren’t capable of using YouTube as a proper marketing platform.
- Schrack Technik Romania – the Romanian subsidiary of an electrical equipment company Schrack hosting brand videos
- Zyxter – a new gaming channel starting out
Below this there are channels that aren’t really worth mentioning: 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?