The Top YouTube Channels in Nigeria
The social buzz seizing Nigerian youths lately reveals a lot about how the internet is changing the face of the communication in the country. Instagram and Facebook have netted record numbers in terms of usage among its population of Nigerian subscribers, and while these two are undoubtedly among the biggest social media apps in the country, it would seem they have left no room for YouTube to register some “likes”. Popular Nigerian singer Davido (@iam_Davido) boasts about 2.2 million followers on Twitter; his YouTube channel (DavidoVEVO) is however only about 62k strong. Perhaps, because of the relatively high cost of internet subscription in the country, video sharing sites such as YouTube, Vube or Dailymotion are not as popular as other simple, low data-consuming social networks. Or could it be that Nigerians have simply not been won over by the strength of video as a medium?
Despite the numbers, YouTube still registers some activity with its Nigerian audience and we’ll go over the biggest YouTube channels in Nigeria in terms of subscriber numbers (not video views!). This should offer good insight into what Nigerians love to spend their hard-earned data bytes watching on the internet.
- MarkAngelComedy: 800k
Since its creation in June 2013, the MarkAngelComedy channel has grown from an insignificant number of subscribers to over 800k subscribers, shooting its main actor Emmanuella to global fame. With over 181 million views from about 100 videos, the comedy channel is without doubt Nigeria’s leading YouTube channel. Centered on the antics of Emmanuella, its child star, the MarkAngelComdey channel produces videos which regularly make the rounds on the internet and register upwards of 500-800k views in a few months. At a daily average growth of 3k subscribers, the channel continues expanding, supporting the indication that comedy is indeed good business in Nigeria.
- realnollywoodclips: 579k
Nollywood is big business in Nigeria, no doubt. Nollywood movies flood the offline market at a rate so hard and firm it is hard to keep track of them. However, the online market is also growing just as fast. Created in Feb of 2012 and with a subscriber base of about 579k, realnollywoodclips serves this online audience with a varied selection of Nollywood productions in over 2k videos. At a record highest of 357 million views amongst all other Nollywood channels on YouTube, this channel has turned out to be a leading source of home video delivery. Its subscriber base has also continued to grow at a daily average of about 1.5k with little indication of trending down.
- PSquareVEVO: 523k
The brothers have been up to a lot lately. They just concluded a few video shoots and have snapped up endorsements from an enviable selection of Nigerian companies. It would appear their music also enjoys wide audience, as their number of YouTube subscribers shows. With about 523k subscribers and a combined total views of 271million, the PSquareVEVO channel ranks among the few channels from Nigeria with greater than 100million total views. And this is neglecting the many arbitrary channels spinning off a couple of their videos on them. That’s quite a YouTube number in Nigerian terms, never minding they have only a meagre 19 videos on this channel. In fact, there is only one other music video channel which sits alongside PSquareVEVO on the Top 10 YouTube channel in Nigeria.
- EmmanuelTV: 517k
TB Joshua’s EmmanuelTV is in fourth position with about 517k subscribers and a total view of nearly 217million. Apparently, religion registers just as much attention as Nollywood. EmmanuelTV borrows from the similarly named TV station which broadcasts the preacher’s sermons, miracles and crusades. A verified account, EmmanuelTV streams the synagogue’s videos of varying kinds and fashion. On this channel, you could find a witch confessing, a blue-eyed American providing testimonies or the preacher delivering his exhortation.
- NollywoodStreams: 450k
Again a Nollywood channel. Besides confirming all that was said for realnollywoodclips, the 450k subscribers on NollywoodStreams reveal that Nigerians simply can’t get enough of Nollywood movies. Operated from Nigeria, this channel makes available to viewers cuts, trailers and full movies. That some videos uploaded only a few hours ago have already more than 2k views on them shows how well-received this Nollywood channel appears to be.
- iBAKATV|NOLLYWOOD: 430k
Once the biggest YouTube channel in Nigeria only 2 years ago, iBAKATV’s Nollywood channel has now fallen to sixth position. Unsurprisingly, it provides a steady upload of Nigeria’s favorite Nollywood movies. With subscriber strength of about 430k, over 1000 videos and trailers, and a combined total views of 67million, iBAKATV’s channel confirms what we have always suspected: that Nigerians love to watch Nollywood movies. Dull and drab they may be, these mostly low-cost Nigerian movies provide a window into everyday Nigerian life (missed by those in the diaspora) and afford viewers continued opportunity to see their favorite actors & actresses. With movies needing no more than cursory editing and constantly churned out in large numbers monthly, iBAKA is certainly assured of steady supply on its YouTube page.
- Nollywood5star: 380k
It’s not especially surprising to, again, find another Nollywood channel with a high number of subscribers. Apparently, most Nigerian users of YouTube subscribe across a wide array of Nollywood channels in order to get the best in Nigerian movies. Unlike the other Nollywood channels, Nollywood5star streams some Gollywood movies in addition to Nollywood movies. It also houses the highest number of videos amongst the top 10 YouTube channels in Nigeria. An unverified channel, its array of uploaded movies cuts across action, romance and horror. It does appear popular, as evidenced by the number of hits videos get after only few days to weeks of upload. Nollywood5star has nicked a combined total of 146 million views.
- MavinRecords: 360k
If there is one thing hits after hits are sure to get you in Nigeria, it is regular video viewing on YouTube. MavinRecords attest to this. At a combined total view of over 190 million, the Don Jazzy-inspired label confirms that Nigerians are dearly in love with the songs leaving his stables and performed by his dearest team members. Perhaps it helps that the majority of the hit songs deriving from the label’s individual stars are all assembled under this channel, or that the producer himself often trends on social media. An unverified channel, MavinRecords clearly has farther to go in making its way up the ladder ahead of high subscriber grossing channels like MarkAngelComedy and realnollywoodclips.
- Nollywoodpicturestv 350k
Again another Nollywood channel. No surprises. Nollywoodpicturestv has hit a combined total of more than 230 million views and unlike Nollywood5star is a verified YouTube channel.
- Latest movie Romance: 354k
Attending to a segment of the Nollywood audience particularly enthralled by romance, another Nollywood channel seals the tenth place on the YouTube channels with the biggest subscribers in Nigeria. Again, this attests to Nigerians’ insatiable appetite for Nollywood movies, evidently cutting across home and abroad. At a combined total view of more than 190 million, a subscriber base of 354k and videos over 4k, this channel completes the top 10 list of the biggest YouTube channels in the country.
Also making the list of the most subscribed channels are Official Flavour at no. 11 (344k subscribers, combined views of more than 209 mio.) and DMW HQ, Davido’s label channel, (320k, 200 mio.) at no. 12. Since many of these channels would have probably registered a couple more subscribers and views before you finish reading this article, and certainly after today, these numbers are not fixed and will change.
If one assumes that a majority of these subscribers come from Nigeria, it becomes easy to make the argument that Nigerians’ favourite pastime on YouTube consists of different flavours of Nollywood movies, irrespective of length. Some are also excited by trailers of Nollywood movies as hosted under the different channels above. Music also consumes YouTube time; and in this respect, the PSquare brothers appear the most favoured. As their tunes appeal to a sizeable range of audience, it won’t be unexpected that some of their subscriber base also derives from other African countries.
While it may seem these channels enjoy a lot of subscribers, the numbers are quite petty. YouTube channels with less than 500k subscribers can’t actually be considered widely popular, and while a combined total view of 100million for all videos on a channel is a huge number, it is extremely poor for ratings. To put this in perspective, just one video by Rihanna or Justin Bieber could enjoy as many as 700million views in the YouTube world, and the least most favorited video by a popular American performer could still register over 300million views. In fact, some videos have registered more than 2 million views in the first day of upload. In addition, the biggest combined view on YouTube for a single channel is over 16 billion, while the biggest number for one video is more than 1 billion (Psy’s Gangham Style). Compared to the meagre 500k subscribers stated for the leading music channel in Nigeria, Rihanna’s official channel, RihannaVEVO has over 24 million subscribers, while Eminem’s boasts over 21million. Apparently, Nigerian channels or Nigerian music videos still have a lot of work to do if they intend to catch up with the world’s numbers. This will start first with deeper internet penetration and then with making video streaming comfortably cheap. I hope someone makes that happen someday.