Bing Chen got painted unfairly, it seems. The former YouTube executive in charge of creator development abruptly left the video platform to join up with some stealthy startup project. Speculation was that he was displeased with Susan Wojcicki being named CEO over himself. Critics said whatever the project was, it couldn’t possibly live up to the hype.
But Bing is first and foremost an innovator. He craves challenge and stimulation — and as it turns out, his new project Victorious isn’t against YouTube, but tailor-made to go right in hand with it. And now that it’s arrived, we finally get to see if Victorious lives up to the name.
The platform isn’t just some laid back app — as far as Bing is concerned, it is about enabling creatives to connect more wholly with their fans. Embracing mainstream YouTubers like Ryan Higa and the Young Turks, Victorious creates a much more contextualized experience for them to present new content, share inside details or discuss their lives in an uncluttered and simple-to-use scrolling format. As Bing explains it in our interview below, enhanced fan engagement was a MAJOR aspect of development (as Bing would well know) and having sampled the wares, I can say that Victorious is indeed easy to use and an excellent means of engagement. That makes one critic silenced, now Bing and Victorious can shut up the rest as well.
What made Victorious as a project the next leap after YouTube for you?
To be honest, I don’t see Victorious as a project or company–Victorious is a mission. The mission is to unlock every facet of who we are each meant to be. For creators, that means enabling them to holistically deliver every element of their personalities and content universes in an authentic, interactive way; for superfans, that means enabling them to deeply enjoy every dimension of their passion–whether it’s a creator, idea, or community.
Five major trends in our industry have propelled this mission into a palpable reality:
Mobile is the first screen. The Mobile Generation (Millennials and Generation Z) is spending most of its media time online and increasingly on mobile (more than half of Facebook and YouTube’s usage is on mobile, for instance).
Creators are king–and crave direct access. Fan loyalty is tied less to platforms or metanetworks–and more with the individual IP or creator. For instance, when was the last time that you watched your favorite TV show on its original network or could articulate what original network produced your favorite TV show? Most can’t. To that end, how do you enable creators to go directly to their audiences–and reciprocally, enable communities to gain direct access to the creators and IP they love? You see this paradigm with media companies like CBS or networks like Nickelodeon going directly to their audiences in an unbundled fashion, as well.
Experience over content. Simply watching, liking and commenting is not enough for the Mobile Generation. Fans crave more interactive content experiences and, in many cases, are creators in their own right. They are active participants in a creators’ career and community.
Superfans matter most. Superfans have always driven the majority of engagement and revenue on any platform–online or offline. They are the first in line on a Thursday night before a film premieres; they are the first to watch your video when you’ve uploaded it; they devour your merch–and they are underserved. How do we deliver a safe forum for these superfans and their passions to flourish?
Digital business models are as diverse as creators. Dictating one or two revenue options to creators limits them and a platform’s growth. How do you provide a comprehensive, flexible mix of revenue options that fit the diversity of creators?