“Thank you from the bottom of my pec!! Thank you from the bottom of my chest!!” It is true to himself that the YouTuber Tibo Inshape, specializing in fitness content, wanted to thank his community after having exceeded the mark of 18 million subscribers ten days ago.

A symbolic figure, which inevitably brings it closer to the current number 1 YouTube in France: Squeezie and its 18.8 million subscribers. The latter took a four-month break from his channel at the start of the year, and his race towards 20 million subscribers was mechanically slowed down. Since then, however, he has announced his return this Saturday, May 18, with new original concepts in a post on X (formerly Twitter) which collected 52,000 likes in a few hours.

This “battle” for first place, especially invoked by their respective communities, has been going on for several months now. While the two men are hot on their heels, Tibo Inshape, for his part, panics the counters. It reached one billion views for the first time in the month of December 2023 alone.

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Audience success based on a meticulous marketing strategy and, in particular, on the popularity of YouTube’s short formats, “Shorts”, designed to compete with TikTok. According to the platform, more than 2 billion Internet users watch these vertical videos every month around the world. Tibo Shape took full ownership of this format and began publishing it very regularly.

However, “Shorts” appear in a dedicated thread on the platform, allowing many creators to be discovered when an Internet user views this tab. What Tibo Inshape benefited from. The YouTuber’s long videos have maintained a constant number of views over the past year: between 200,000 and 1 million on average.

According to projections from the data site Social Blade, by early July 2024, Tibo InShape should be followed by 19.9 million people, compared to 19 million for Squeezie. During the successful talk show “Zen”, broadcast on the live video platform Twitch in October 2023, the Toulouse videographer assured that he was very confident for the future. “I think I have the ability to become the French number one. As a competitor, we like challenges, we like to surpass ourselves. So, we’re going to do everything we can.”

However, Tibo Inshape is not unanimous. On X, many criticize him for making misogynistic and transphobic remarks in his videos or clumsy speeches, particularly on depression. Last February, he also announced that he had filed a complaint, without openly naming him, against the online media Blast, which analyzed the YouTuber’s political impact in a video. Tibo Inshape is regularly criticized for having promoted the prison administration, the CRS or even the SNU (universal national service) by appearing, on this occasion, alongside current Prime Minister Gabriel Attal.

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For its part, Squeezie focuses more on very long formats, with production similar to television formats. He launched game concepts that are very popular with Internet users such as “Who is the imposter?”, “The worst date” or even “Who is hiding something from us?”. In these videos, the YouTuber often receives guests known to the general public such as the duo Éric and Ramzy, the actresses Marion Cotillard and Camille Cottin or the Marseille rappers SCH and Soso Maness. Objective: produce a moment of entertainment for your community, at least once a week.

But releasing these shows at such a steady pace also has its share of flaws. Four months ago, when announcing his break, the YouTuber admitted wanting to take time to enjoy his personal life, which had been put on hold in recent years. “In two or three months when we come back, we will come back with suites of formats that we love, new formats and a rhythm that is a little more human and a little less factory,” he promised then . On social networks, many are already expressing their impatience at the idea of ​​discovering, in the coming hours, his return video in the “YouTube game”.