There have been a lot of cover stories about Vine and YouTube stars over the last several months.
Shane Dawson and Jenna Marbles graced the cover of Variety, Jerome Jarre made the cover of AdWeek, Bethany Mota on the cover of FastCompany, and so on.
But, why now? Why has it taken so long?
While many of these articles are praising the innovation and progressiveness of entertainment and advertisers participating in the space, the harsh reality is it is not innovative.
Off the Media
Vidcon, the SXSW of the YouTube world, recently held its fifth annual event. I’ve attended every Vidcon since its inception, and this year’s event proved to be the most eventful of any thus far. Bigger than ever, the crowd at the Anaheim Convention Center swelled to well over last year’s estimated 12,000 attendees, as brands, fans and the entire industry flocked to Orange County.
Founded by Hank and John Green of Vlogbrothers fame, Vidcon originally launched five years ago as a convention for fans and YouTube creators alike to come together. It has since expanded: the original event drew a around 1,400 attendees to the Hyatt Regency in Century City, in contrast to the massive crowd that thronged the Anaheim Convention Center this year.
It’s been nearly seven years since YouTube first launched its “Partners Program,” a platform for YouTube creators that gives them a portion of revenue made on their videos, and nearly two years since Google invested more than $100M in YouTube content producers. Despite this financial influx, the quality of content on YouTube has stagnated somewhere between “awful” and “downright terrible.”
Call it the Jenna Marbles paradox, after the top YouTuber profiled in the New York Times earlier this year who, after more than one billion views and millions earned in ad revenue, still makes some of the most amateur videos you can imagine. As she put it, she makes “more money than I need, ever” and yet, if you had no idea who she was and watched one of her million-views-plus videos, you’d think this was the first time she’d ever turned on a video camera.