Media revolution: Enter the new age

Published: July 8, 2016
In 2012, Gangnam Style became the first YouTube video to reach one billion views. PHOTO: FILE

In 2012, Gangnam Style became the first YouTube video to reach one billion views. PHOTO: FILE

SAN FRANCISCO: A media revolution is taking place and most people over 35 years of age aren’t tuned in yet.

Millennials and their successors are shunning old-school television in favour of watching what they want, whenever they want, on Google-owned YouTube and other video platforms like Dailymotion and Facebook.

“Young people don’t really watch TV anymore. They watch online videos that are shorter and more talent-driven,” says Fabienne Fourquet, a former executive at A&E Television and France’s Canal+, which now heads the multichannel network 2btube. “They don’t want to be Hollywood stars when they grow up. They want to be YouTubers. There is this whole other world.”

The new multichannel networks, or MCNs, are talent agents of sorts for creators of videos shared at online venues. They help creators, often referred to as YouTubers, with video production and promotion, along with finding partners or sponsors in return for a percentage of revenue.

Fourquet said popular subjects include music, comedy, sports, video games, fashion and beauty.

‘YouTubers’ outshining old-school television

She noted that three-quarters of her viewers were younger than 34 years of age and half were under 25. “There are very few of us old people,” Fourquet quipped.

Self-described YouTuber Caroline Artiss has been a chef for 20 years, but opted out of restaurants and went to work for herself in catering in 2008. Then, a friend showed her how simple it was to make videos for YouTube. “It was just me and a tripod in my kitchen,” Artiss told the publication. “Then people started tuning in from all over the world.” She recounted cooking her way across the United States for a multi-episode show after catching eyes at BBC America and a television network in Malaysia.

Artiss said she approaches her cooking videos from the perspective of a single mom: short on money and time but needing to feed a family. She was signed on by a video network that describes itself as being tailored for a mobile generation and focused on “tastemakers” sharing passion for food and travel. “It still blows my mind,” Artiss said. “I am coming from a single mom, living in London, struggling to pay my bills to having an opportunity to start my own TV channel in a way.”

Artiss teamed with other chefs to open the Gorgeous Kitchen restaurant at London’s Heathrow airport. She has a cookbook due out later this year and works with Youth Policy Institute to raise money to get fresh produce to low-income families.

An annual Vidcon gathering in Southern California has become a hot venue for YouTubers to connect with business opportunities and ecstatic fans. Some 25,000 people were reported to have attended this year’s Vidcon, which took place in June. “With the onset of digital video platforms and the fact that everyone has a smartphone in their pockets, we have democratised being a creator,” said Paladin co-founder James Creech, whose California company specialises in technology for finding budding stars in a vast universe where anyone can post content online.

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“Regular TV is about cartoons and YouTube is about real people and the games I like,” Henry Crawford, an 11-year-old online video fan from California, told the publication. Concurring with him, Creech added, “It’s a huge disruption. We are in the midst of a revolution in media and it is very exciting.”  The YouTube channel with the most subscribers is that of Swedish video maker and comedian PewDiePie, who provides captivating commentary while playing video games.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 9th, 2016.

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