nScreenMedia OTT multiscreen media analysis

Social leaderboards dominated by emerging markets, kids content

kids children video TV

Emerging market properties and kid channels dominate social leaderboards. In both cases, mobile devices have created an environment where both can flourish.

What is the leaderboard?

There are many different methods to measure and compile a leaderboard list of the most popular social video channels on the web. SocialBlade, for instance, combines two measures to come up with its YouTube channel ranking: view counts and the number of “other channel widgets” listings. (Though I have not found a decent answer as to what “other channel widgets” are.)

Tubular Labs ranks channels by measuring their reach through various platforms, including YouTube. The rank is calculated using a proprietary algorithm that considers subscribers versus view count per video and growth rate. Not only YouTube channels are included on the list, but also organizations that use other distribution platforms.

Leaderboards and the measurements they embody are important for brands to determine which channels have real authentic influence. Though a channel can inflate, artificially produce, or even purchase great-looking performance data, combining it with the leaderboards can reveal if a channel is all it claims to be. For instance, a channel with millions of subscribers but with video views in the hundreds would not rank very high on either list.

The first few entries of Tubular’s leaderboard

Emerging markets are taking over

On both the Tubular and Social Blade lists, and in every other ranking I have seen, the top channel is T-Series. It dwarfs all other channels, with 103 million subscribers and more than 75 billion video views. The media group posts mostly Bollywood music videos targeted to the Hindi-speaking audience. While it might surprise many that an Indian channel tops the list, it is not the only one featured.

Of the top 25 channels on Tubular’s leaderboard, five are Indian, more than any other country except for the United States. Zee TV, Zee Music Company, SAB TV, and SET India all made Tubular’s list. The content each provides is mostly popular entertainment and music oriented. However, India isn’t the only foreign country making a splash.

At #9 on the list, the Phillippines-based channel ABS-CDN has garnered almost 20 million subscribers and over 26 billion video views. They are the largest television network in that country, specializing in news media.

#12 on the Tubular list is 9GAG. The Hong Kong-based channel is an online platform that allows users to upload and share user-generated-content or other media from external websites. Although they don’t have very many views on Facebook, they have a billion views through different social media sites.

Emerging market brands play an even more significant role on SocialBlade’s leaderboard. Of the top 10 YouTube channels ranked by the site, only three are US-based. Six of the top 10 are from emerging markets including Brazil, Philippines, and Hong Kong. Of course, India is well represented too, with four channels appearing on the list.

One thing is clear here: YouTube is incredibly popular in these new markets, especially India. nScreenMedia has long tracked the rising popularity of YouTube in emerging markets, where its mobile focus and free ad-supported model make it ideal for users there.

However, emerging markets aren’t the only surprise from the leaderboard lists.

The first seven entries of SocialBlade’s leaderboard for YouTube

Kids Content is huge

The number of kid’s channels that are in the top 10 is at a new high. Of the top 10 ranked channels on SocialBlade, four are for children. Two of the three American channels are for kids. No other genre in the top 10 had as much popularity.

Why target children so much when they make up only a smaller portion of the population? We have discussed previously on nScreenMedia how mobile device usage for social media by the young is on the rise. Children are using connected screens to watch television at ever-younger ages. While on the smartphone, it is almost inevitable that the child will end up watching YouTube videos. This dynamic may explain that while YouTube continues to have scandals over inappropriate children’s content, it has no plans to get rid of it anytime soon.

Kids content ranges from the Vlogs of a Russian girl to toy review channels and finally to general entertainment. Some channels teach children to read, while others seek only to keep them occupied and out of trouble.

The success of emerging market and children’s channels have one similarity: mobile devices. Both the young and those living in emerging markets frequently use smartphones, and that is why YouTube is so popular with them.

Why it matters

  • Leaderboards seek to track the most influential social video organizations on the web
  • Channels from emerging markets – particularly India – and kids content make up a large portion of properties listed on the leaderboards
  • Their dominance is in large part due to the use of mobile devices.
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