YouTubers | Chris Stokel-Walker

Summary of: YouTubers: How YouTube Shook Up TV and Created a New Generation of Stars
By: Chris Stokel-Walker


Dive into the world of YouTube as Chris Stokel-Walker unravels its history, growth, and impact in ‘YouTubers: How YouTube Shook Up TV and Created a New Generation of Stars’. Explore how YouTube has transformed the global entertainment landscape and given birth to a new generation of creators called ‘YouTubers’ – who forge lucrative careers through this platform. This summary takes you through the rapid rise of the platform to its current worth of $140 billion, how its algorithms and business models impact creators, and the various challenges faced by content creators, advertisers, and users.

YouTube: The Video Encyclopedia

YouTube’s success story began with its focus on user-generated content, which captivated viewers with clips of copyrighted material, home videos, and quirky animations. In 2006, Google purchased YouTube for $1.65 billion, and by 2019, its worth grew to $140 billion. The rise of YouTube creators, who upload 576,000 hours of content daily from 90 countries, has enabled many to make a living and inspired others to become YouTube influencers. YouTube represents a new paradigm for the video production industry, providing the sum of human knowledge in easily digestible form and democratizing content creation.

The Dark Side of YouTube

YouTube’s algorithm has transformed the platform into a hub for fringe content, while creators face constant rule changes and algorithm tweaks. These issues have led to a generation of individuals with a growing distrust of commonly held beliefs. The consequences of these problems manifested in the 2018 shooting at YouTube’s headquarters by a disgruntled creator who felt discriminated against by algorithm changes. YouTube has responded to advertiser concerns and criticism by removing extremist content, but the prevalence of conspiracy theories and similar content persists. While YouTube is attempting to address these issues, it remains to be seen whether these efforts will be successful in curbing the darker side of the platform.

The Influence of YouTube

Advertisers analyze YouTubers who generate viral content by tracking their average views per video. Advertisers prefer advertisers who have a dedicated fanbase over YouTube superstars who aren’t able to interact with fans as much. Once a video surpasses 1,000 views, the creators are labeled as “nano-influencers.” They become “micro-influencers” if they average between 10,000 to 25,000 views, and if more than that, they are considered “elite influencers” or “macro influencers.” Amazon statistics prove that incorporating videos increases sales by 30%. Collaborating with advertisers during personal moments such as coming out videos generate more successful strategies than traditional advertising, ensuring significant income for creators.

The Phenomenon of YouTuber Celebrities

The world of YouTube has given rise to a new breed of celebrities who are known for their outrageous acts and unboxing videos. Jake Paul is one of the most successful YouTubers, with millions of subscribers, who generates income through advertising revenue and merchandise sales. The rivalry between elite influencers KSI and Joe Weller brought their YouTube feud to a boxing ring in front of a sold-out live audience. Zoella, another top-tier YouTuber, proved her fans’ willingness to crossover to other media with her bestselling novel. The highest earner on YouTube is an eight-year-old who plays with toys on his channel and sells his branded toys through retail giants. Even pop singers like Justin Bieber’s son Matthew David Morris found their start on the platform. However, despite the success, many creators feel trapped in making videos solely to maintain their audience’s entertainment and income. The rise of YouTube celebrities marks a shift to a new form of entertainment where people’s rank and income depends on keeping their audience happy.

The Dark Side of YouTube Fandom

Social media influencer culture has exploded over the years, and with it, the notion of “fandoms.” These groups of obsessive fans often result in problematic situations for YouTubers. The consequences of fans feeling a sense of ownership over their favorite creators have led to tragedy, as seen in the murder of Christina Grimmie. Despite numerous scandals, YouTube’s always-tardy response has fans questioning the platform’s priorities. The shift in creators from independent artists to industry-backed entities adds a layer of complexity to the relationship between fans and creators. Successful creators require support staff, such as talent agents, to navigate the ever-changing field of influencer marketing. YouTube’s most followed creator, PewDiePie, faces competition from a corporate entity, highlighting this shift in the industry. With the stakes higher than ever, changes must be made to ensure both the safety of creators and their fans.

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