Simple questions about the animation industry often don’t have simple answers.
An example: I recently wanted to learn what were the most-subscribed animation channels on Youtube. After all, Google-owned Youtube is the largest global destination for animation content. Surely someone must be keeping track publicly of such basic and pertinent information.
As it turns out, there wasn’t a single accurate, up-to-date source for this data. So Cartoon Brew researched it and built out our own list of the Top 40 Animation Channels On Youtube. The chart will be permanently accessible from our Charts & Data dropdown in the menu, and we’ll continue to update it at regular intervals.
Here’s some observations about the list:
- Animation is a children’s art form. A common refrain on this site is that animation is more than just an art form for children. Not so on Youtube. The vast majority of the most-popular animation channels on Youtube are devoted to preschool content, with the remainder aimed at children. There’s only a couple outlier channels which aim at an older demographic, like Pencilmation and TheOdd1sOut. There are no top 40 animation channels that offer animation for mature audience, though Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell is close, with 16.2 million subscribers.
- Disney who? The usual suspects – major entertainment corporations – have little presence on this list. Notable exceptions are Warner Bros., with its WB Kids channel, and Viacom, which not only operates Nick Jr. but also Voot Kids, a kids brand out of India. Rather, the big winners on Youtube are little-known (often anonymous) Indian, Chinese, and Latin American studios, which pump out tons of economically-produced animation. The work they produce is often of dubious quality and questionable educational value, but it’s found a receptive audience on Youtube.
- Well-funded companies are moving in. The top animation channel on Youtube, Cocomelon, as well as the seventh most-popular channel, Little Baby Bum, are both owned by Moonbug Entertainment, a London-based company founded in 2018 that is acquiring popular children’s channels for tens of millions of dollars apiece. Moonbug recently filed a lawsuit against a Chinese Youtube channel that it accused of ripping off its Cocomelon productions.
- Multilingual success. Some IP is popular in more than one language. For example, three channels of Masha and the Bear appear in the top 40 (Russian, English, Spanish), as well as two Peppa Pig channels (English, Spanish). Infobells has three channels in the top 40, and amazingly all of them are aimed at Indian audiences, providing content in Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu languages.
- The top 40 barely scratches the surface. There are countless other similar channels in the 5-15 million subscriber range. There’s a huge demand for children’s content and the vast majority of global audiences are getting it from Youtube, not OTT or SVOD services.
For more exclusive Youtube animation data, check out another chart we maintain: Top 50 Most-Viewed Indie Animated Shorts On Youtube.