Hollywood can’t help but take notice of the power and creativity that is being displayed on YouTube.
Tinseltown shows its fondness at times for the social media video website.
In March of 2014, Disney acquired Maker Studios, a highly successful YouTube multichannel network, for $500 million. And in 2013, DreamWorks Animation purchased a YouTube channel, AwesomenessTV, for $33 million. Warner Bros. also bought a stake in a videogame oriented YouTube multichannel network, Machinima, for $18 million.
Insiders in the entertainment industry have observed that the traditional notion of a movie star, who has the ability to carry a project to box-office success, has been slowly eroding. The franchise concept film series, which is frequently based on comic books or bestselling young adult novels, has, in great part, altered the casting calculus.
Recent research now indicates that YouTube has been producing new stars that are actually more popular than traditional entertainment celebrities, who are typically sold to the public via Hollywood star-making machinery.
According to the results of a survey, which was commissioned by the trade publication Variety, young adults, a vaunted demographic, are more intrigued with and interested in YouTube stars than they are with the most notable celebrities in music, television, and movies.
Young people aged 13 to 18, a group that has grown up with the Internet, chose stars of YouTube as the most influential, placing them in the top 5 spots out of 20. The YouTube stars in the following chosen order were the online comedy team of Ian Andrew Hecox and Anthony Padilla, also known as Smosh, another comedy duet, the Fine Bros., Benny and Rafi, a Swedish videogamer, Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, also known as PewDiePie, a quirky comedy vlogger, named KSI, and a comedic video collaborator, Ryan Higa.
Jennifer Lawrence, Johnny Depp, Vin Diesel, Betty White, Daniel Radcliffe, Katy Perry, Seth Rogen, and Leonardo DiCaprio made the top twenty in the survey but finished lower than the aforementioned YouTube personalities.
Additionally, 6 of the top 10 were YouTube personalities.
The survey, commissioned in July 2014, sought answers from 1,500 teens to a “battery of questions assessing how 20 well-known personalities stacked up in terms of approachability, authenticity and other criteria considered aspects of their overall influence.”
Half of the public figures were Internet celebrities who had the highest number of video views and subscribers on YouTube, and half were public figures who had the highest Q scores with teens as of March 2014.
The survey measured teen perception of the 20 celebrities using a number of criteria, including approachability and authenticity. One of the objectives of the study was to determine which celebrities would possess the strongest correlation to influencing the purchases of younger consumers.
The survey was conducted by Jeetendr Sehdev, an individual who specializes in celebrity brand strategies. Sehdev claims the reason teens favor the YouTube stars over traditional Hollywood celebrities is that personalities who appear on YouTube come across more natural than those who are produced by Hollywood’s image makers. Consequently, young people are able to bond more easily and relate to YouTube personalities as opposed to the highly crafted personas of the small and large screen.
The survey indicates that young people relate to the YouTube personalities’ spontaneity, unfettered creativity, bold choice of material, and free-spirited humor — characteristics that are often discouraged by Hollywood’s puppet masters.
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