After about a year of continuous eye roll-inducing celebrity YouTube channel failures, the Google-owned site finally seems to have gotten the point that, within the YouTube landscape, star power does not mean a damn thing.
Last night at the video sharing site’s NewFronts presentation, which, according to All Things D, contained no less than three musical performances, YouTube switched gears in a big way. When last year’s “Premium Channel Initiative” proved to be more or less a flop on the celebrity end, it became fairly clear that YouTube needed to have a bit more faith in their homegrown talent.
This year, hoping again to rope in those big TV ad bucks, YouTube’s approach seemed to be the polar opposite of last year’s star-studded sales pitch. Marching out talent like Lindsey Stirling and Felicia Day, YouTube painted a clear picture that their site was the antithesis to what we know as “big entertainment.” We’re talking your impenetrable Hollywood inner circles, the same circles that Day explained kept her out, which forced her to embrace YouTube.
It’s refreshing to see YouTube truly embracing their talent in a time where artists’ faith in Hollywood and the music industry is faltering. In a mad scramble to stay afloat, big entertainment seems to have stuck to a formula that is safe, easy and profitable. For example, at some point the post-apocalyptic genre blew up. So naturally, what’s headed to theaters this Summer? Over four big budget films featuring zombies, world-shattering catastrophes and a dystopian not-too-distant future.
The public’s tastes, however, are changing. As unconventional indie stars like Macklemore burn down charts largely with the help of YouTube, it’s become clear that the public is looking for something different than the vanilla fare dished out by the remaining big labels.
So why should TV advertisers move to YouTube? The answer is simple: YouTube has become a place for massive innovation in both technology and entertainment. As the downfall of terrestrial radio at the hands of streaming services like Pandora and Spotify has proven, people are always going to gravitate towards whatever helps them consume content easier and faster.
In the case of YouTube, with a one-two combination of brilliant advertising workarounds (skippable ads,TrueView, targeted ads) and a crop of talented, hungry artists shunned by Hollywood, it’s hard to see how major media could stand a chance.