This is a watershed moment in the legacy of YouTube. This is a moment that will be analyzed in future years as the moment when YouTube really began to eclipse traditional media.
See, television has always had an ace in the hole: money. What they could offer YouTubers to lure them away from their hovels was a paycheck and creature comforts that vastly exceeded what YouTubers knew. Harley Morenstein said as much during our recent interview.
And even though YouTubers have all previously said they would stick with YouTube forever … blah blah blah … as soon as a television deal is dangled, they all too frequently hop offline and never look back.
So when Bethany Mota, YouTube’s IT girl of the moment, chooses YouTube over television, it means more than you realize. It means that for the first time ever, a YouTuber who actually has a choice, is valuing freedom over money.
“I was kind of hesitant to be on ‘Dancing With The Stars,'” Mota said at news website Business Insider’s Ignition conference, “but I was looking for a way to become more mainstream. But, even still, I look at YouTube and what I do online as more valuable than that.”
The first step towards a successful diet is to decline the offered sweets. The first step towards YouTubers becoming the dominant voice of their media generation is to not fall prey to television. And Bethany, in taking that step, has demonstrated that she is The Chosen One.
“When you do mainstream TV there are producers and directors you have to go to in order to get approval for things,” Mota says. “But on YouTube, I’m my own director. I’m my own producer. I can have an idea and just go with it.”
Bethany is thinking in the new world — she sees the future that many of us only dream about.