Whether it’s for beauty tips, how to make loom bands or for the latest movie trailers, YouTube is this generation’s go-to place for instructional videos or just for some comic relief. Vloggers are the source of this valuable information and more are emerging every day – but how valuable are they?
Last weekend, thousands of vloggers and fans flocked to Summer in the City. Held at London’s Alexandra Palace, the sold-out event accommodated 8,500 visitors who met to network and meet some of their YouTube stars. However, how have these ‘stars’ remained out of the general public’s eye and just how successful are they?
Let’s take self-deprecating sensation Jenna Marbles:
Marbles’ video ‘Drunk Makeup Tutorial’ has been viewed over 1.5 billion times. Her comedy videos are personal and relatable, hence their success. Never one to outwardly push products, Jenna has retained a loyal fan base with out having to sell out. She makes her money from YouTube sponsorship and advertising revenue.
But let’s talk cash-money. What are these vloggers earning to keep them in all this makeup to try or expensive video equipment? Let’s look at Tyler Oakley:
In terms of revenue, it was reported recently that Oakley earns around £579,000 per year from his channel. With over 5,000,000 subscribers, his influence is pretty wide in terms of loyal fans and his money is made from personal appearances and product placement.
However, these high-earning vloggers need to watch out. With copyright laws stronger than ever on YouTube and especially in America, some of these starlets are facing legal action regarding their videos. Just last month, Michelle Phan – one of the most successful YouTube celebrities – was sued for using music without a licence.
At the Summer in the City event, where Tyler Oakley was present, the hot topic of discussion was the impact of this new generation of ‘celebrity’. Musicians are shunning labels as they become famous without leaving their garages; for example, the band Area11 have already sold 12,000 copies of their debut album and embarked on a sell-out tour – all down to their YouTube channel.
So, what does this mean for digital PR? Should we now be targeting these young and hip names to pitch products and story ideas? Their influence is undeniable, but is it the right kind of influence? With viewership mostly coming from the young, they would potentially not reach target demographics. Think quantity over quality.
However, with time and the ease of access recording equipment (iPhones, Android Phones), will we see a rise in this new kind of ‘journalism? We’re sure there will be a video somewhere that explains this…