Digital ‘American Idol’? Ryan Seacrest Invests In YouTube DigiTour

There’s something uniquely awesome about being able to look at someone and say, “I don’t need your money, but if you want to hang around that’s cool with me.”

Such is the case with Meridith Valiando Rojas, co-founder of the DigiTour, when approached by Ryan Seacrest and media juggernaut Advance Publications (owner of Conde Nast). Both are huge names with serious bankroll who came offering to invest in the YouTube-centric anything-goes concert, but for Rojas their chief contribution came more in the form of connections. Both investors combined put less than $2 million into DigiTour, because as Rojas explains, the company is already profitable, but she can use Seacrest’s connections and Advance’s media capabilities.

For Seacrest though, it isn’t about the money either. He’s — head’s up, YouTubers — scouting future talent for other realms of his empire — names like Nash Grier, the Janoskians and Tyler Oakley. “You can look at online metrics, but this allows you to really tell how audiences react,” he said. “I’m a big believer in seeing how audiences are responding, tangibly.” So, basically, the more screams a YouTuber gets during a concert, the more likely they are to end up with a production deal.

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The Digitour concert experience takes creators from all aspects of YouTube and Vine and tosses ‘em out on a concert stage in front of thousands of screaming fans who’ve paid between $25 and $100 for a ticket to watch their beloved stars do … something. “We try to mimic their YouTube experience,” says Rojas. “It’s very ADD. Anyone who’s not in their demographic might not get it, and that’s a good thing in my eyes.”

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