With 80 different language options, local versions in 91 countries, and nearly two billion monthly users, YouTube’s global presence is massive. The platform reaches 95% of the internet’s population, and its top-performing countries reflect that global diversity. In this post, we’ll take a look at the countries and regions with the most all-time views and subscribers, and we’ll investigate how the top-ranking countries have grown and changed over the last five years. In this analysis, we compared the top 100 channels ranked by views and subscribers for each country.
In a comparison of the most-viewed channels from each country, the United States earned the top spot by a long shot, with nearly one trillion total views as of March 2019. Indian channels came in second place with approximately 500 billion views, followed by the United Kingdom, Brazil, and Thailand.
When it comes to all-time subscribers, the United States once again holds the top spot, over two billion total subscribers across its top 100 channels. India, the United Kingdom, and Brazil also rank highly. While Thailand has the fifth-highest number of total views, it is only #10 in subscribers; Mexico, by contrast, ranks #12 in viewership but #5 in subscribers. And while Egypt and Chile are among YouTube’s top 25 most-subscribed countries, they do not rank in the top-viewed list. Similarly, the Philippines and Romania are #19 and #25, respectively, on the top-viewed list, but are not among the top-subscribed countries.
All these countries have experienced massive growth since 2013, when ChannelMeter collaborated with NewMediaRockstars to compile a list of the top ten countries in YouTube viewership outside the United States. With nearly a trillion views in 2019, the United States has grown more than seven-fold from its 2013 viewership of approximately 125 billion views. The most impressive growth, however, came from Brazil and India. Brazil’s 2019 viewership of 275 billion is 25 times its 2013 viewership of 11 billion. This growth moved Brazil from the number ten spot to the number four spot in total viewership. India’s viewership increased 33-fold, from 15 billion to over 500 billion. While India was the third-most-viewed country in 2013, it replaced the United Kingdom in second place in 2019. Germany, meanwhile, suffered the greatest drop in the rankings, plunging from #4 to #14. Three new countries — Thailand, Spain, and Turkey — made it into the top ten in 2019, ousting Germany, France, and Mexico. This shift also represents a change in regional dominance: Europe, once the top region in viewership, has been replaced by Asia, and the Middle East has arrived on the scene.
Despite the diversity and global reach of YouTube’s content, some regions dominate the platform. While Europe only comprises 10% of the world’s population, European content accounts for 27% of views amassed by the top 25 countries. North American countries, which hold only 8% of the world’s population, also accounted for 27% of total views. South America and Oceania, home to 6% and 0.5% of the world’s population, respectively, also have relatively high percentages of viewership. Asia, by contrast, comprises nearly 60% of the world’s population, but content produced in Asian countries only gained 30% of views. The 4.7% of views for the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA) are nearly proportional to its 6% of the world’s population. And while Africa is the second-most populous continent, home to over 16% of the world’s population, no African nations (except Egypt, which is categorized here as part of MENA) rank among the top 25 most-viewed.
There are several potential causes for these sometimes-disproportionate patterns of YouTube activity. Naturally, countries with large populations — like the US, India, and Brazil — tend to rank highly. By contrast, limited access to computers and the internet restricts YouTube’s reach in impoverished regions, including many parts of Africa. Meanwhile, government censorship has prevented the widespread use of the platform in some regions — most notably China. Furthermore, content creators are not always honest when choosing their location. For example, although YouTuber PewDiePie, whose channel has amassed over 20 billion views, is Swedish and resides in the United Kingdom, he chose the United States as his location.
Looking towards the future, it seems likely that we will see increased usage of YouTube not only in top countries, but also in up-and-coming regions, particularly Southeast Asia: Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Indonesia all more than doubled their total viewership in 2018. To see some of the creators who are driving growth in Thailand, Spain, and Turkey, the newcomers to the top-ten list, check out these top channels:
Thai channel ครูนกเล็ก (English: “Small bird teacher”) features entertaining educational videos geared towards a young audience.
Spanish channel VEGETTA777 features videos of gameplay, mostly of Minecraft, by Samuel de Luque, who describes himself as “a guy who loves unicorns and lives with a murderous goblin in his room.”
Turkey’s most popular channel belongs to vlogger and actor Enes Batur. Batur’s content ranges from music videos and gameplay to challenges and vlogs.