Business Technology

Wednesday 11 December 2019

Rise of the vloggers: The young net stars ­ giving TV bosses sleepless nights

Internet sensation: Vlogger Alfie Deyes
Internet sensation: Vlogger Alfie Deyes
Carrie Hope Fletcher
Alfie Deyes' girlfriend Zoe Sugg

They are very young, very savvy and they don't need X Factor or Made in Chelsea to find fame.

The new breed of Superstar Vloggers have got traditional media in a bit of a panic. And there is every chance you have never heard of them.

That is, unless you are under 21 and fully plugged in to the vlogger world, where looks, attitude, a webcam and a talent for fast-talking can turn "ordinary" kids into global media stars.

Video Blogging (or just vlogging) is a trend that started some time ago and it's basically what it says on the tin. You simply turn on your laptop, point the camera at yourself and start talking about whatever subject you are into. It can be anything from make-up techniques to computer gaming, American civil war muskets to classic sneakers.

But while it has been with us since Yahoo and YouTube made it easily accessible to the masses in the mid-noughties, the rise of the Vlogging Superstars is a very recent phenomenon. And one that is rapidly changing the shape of marketing, advertising and the wider media world.

One British vlogging superstar, Alfie Deyes now has more than three million subscribers to his YouTube channel and was recently mobbed by over 8,000 fans at the launch of his first book.

Deyes' fame amongst the UK's teen population rivals that of boyband stars like One Direction's Niall Horan. The 21-year-old from Brighton is romantically involved with another vlogging star, Zoe Sugg (better known as Zoella). And their relationship excites as much attention, speculation and ire amongst teenage girls as any involving bona fide pop stars or the cast of Made in Chelsea.

Deyes has just published a book, The Pointless Book, which is a number one bestseller, out-performing the latest from the likes of Jamie Oliver and Ian McEwan.

It's just the first of a raft of books from vlogging stars. His girlfriend Zoe has one coming out as does another video-logging star, actress Carrie Hope Fletcher.

These three Brit Brats, and a small army of competitors, have come from nowhere to confound the traditional media.

But go online and watch Deyes do his thing and you might struggle to see the attraction. One of his most recent videos on YouTube saw him play an apple-dunking game with his mum. For nine minutes. Within five days of being posted, it had been viewed over 650,000 times. Those over the age of 21 might struggle to see the attraction (just as many over-30s find the success of scripted reality shows like Made in Chelsea baffling in the extreme).

But the likes of Deyes and Hope Fletcher, with their millions of YouTube subscribers, are generating huge revenues.

To take just YouTube revenue alone, vloggers are paid on the number of daily views multiplied by a cost-per-thousand impression advertising (CPM) rate of between €0.47 and €4. In other words, for every thousand views, they could be earning up to €4. A banner ad on their YouTube channels will cost around €25,000.

Add in to this revenue from books, marketing deals tied in specifically with their "brand" and other revenue sources, and you can see why the top handful of vloggers are rumoured to earn between €5m and €10m a year.

The most famous are now eyeing their next move, into the world of traditional, networked television and radio. Both mediums are desperate to catch the younger demographic which has migrated online in recent years, the likes of Alfie Deyes and Carrie Hope Fletcher could be their safest route to reclaiming that audience.

Deyes, who may feel he has a certain shelf-life on YouTube, has already said he would do TV or radio, if he is in charge of the content.

"Having creative control, as well as carrying out the whole process myself - shooting, editing and post-production - of all my videos is important," he said recently.

TV might seem like a step up from YouTube. But that's not necessarily how the vloggers and their increasingly disengaged-from-trad-media fans see it.

Deyes, who is cannier than his 'Pointless' tag might suggest, sees it as a completely different platform, one where he may be no more than a face or a voice to someone else's script and ideas.

The Brighton lad has millions of fans by just being himself, uploading videos where he and his friends set each other silly challenges, or he plays games with his mum, and talks about life as a young British person.

On YouTube, vloggers can script, edit and present their own shows without having to worry about the whims of TV executives.

YouTube and similar sites offer the true democratisation of mass media. It's a free-for-all where a 15-year-old with an idea and a laptop can rewrite the rules.

And it's likely to stay that way - until the marketing men and the major corporations figure out a way to bend it to their will.

Indo Review

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