Welcome to YouTube Millionaires, where we profile channels that have recently crossed the one million subscriber mark. There are channels crossing this threshold every week, and each creator has a story to tell about YouTube success. Read previous installments here.
This week’s installment of YouTube Millionaires is brought to you by Bright – a learning platform focused on real conversations that level up your life.
For AMP, it’s all about making the best videos they can–by Any Means Possible.
The sports-and-gaming-focused YouTube group comprises six members: JustFanum (who has 633K subscribers on his solo channel), ImDavisss (1.19 million), Duke Dennis (1.63 million), Agent 00 (1.7 million), Kai Cenat (925K), Chrisnxtdoor (62.4K).
Together, AMP puts out one video every Monday–and in each of those videos, they put themselves to the test. Most of their clips involve cutthroat (er, cutthroat in a friendly way) competitions that see them go head-to-head at everything from cooking to gaming to slamball to bounty hunting and dodgeball and bootcamp and much, much more. But not all of their content is competitive; some of it, like this video where they open a restaurant, this one where they open a barbershop, and this one where they time-crunch create a mixtape, shows off the kind of collaborative magic that brought them together in the first place.
Over the last couple of months, AMP has had a lot to celebrate: first, the one-year anniversary of launching its YouTube channel; second, it moved into a house where all six members will live and create; and third, it passed one million subscribers.
That last one, of course, is why AMP is today’s YouTube Millionaire.
Check out our chat with Fanum below.
Tubefilter: How does it feel to hit one million subscribers? What do you have to say to your fans?
AMP: Amazing! It feels good to be recognized. Especially after all the hard work and dedication and perseverence we’ve all put in to make this possible. We love our fans and thank them for being there for us every step of the way.
Tubefilter: Tell us a little about each of you! How did you meet? What did you do in the days before YouTube?
AMP: My name is Roberto, but I go by the name of Fanum. I’m from The Bronx, New York City! I’m bilingual. English and Spanish. My family is from Dominican Republic and I am a first generation American. I met half the AMP members online a couple years ago while gaming. The other half I met doing IRL content. Eventually we teamed up and formed what is now AMP. Before YouTube, I used to work in a deli making sandwiches and feeding the masses while providing good eats here in New York City.
Tubefilter: When and why did you decide to start a YouTube channel and content house?
AMP: We’ve always dreamed of having a content house. Maximizing the content we can output to the world! We felt we could be a staple within the YouTube community, and we felt something was missing when it comes to YouTube groups. We would be something that was never before seen.
Tubefilter: What can viewers always expect from an AMP video? What’s your overall content strategy?
AMP: Uniqueness. We aim to please with every video. There is no formal strategy that we are using, we honestly just want to make good conten. We can have fun or push ourselves to try new challenges, and that can be enjoyed by our amazing fans.
Tubefilter: How does the collaborative process work with videos? Do each of you do specific parts–scripting, filming, editing, etcetera–or do you split tasks evenly? How long does the average video take to come together?
AMP: We all come together to think about ideas we want to shoot. AMP Chris edits the videos, scripting is handled on a vid-by-vid basis, so it changes from time to time on who is in charge of what video. An average video takes six days to come together from start to finish, starting from the idea all the way down to the editing.
Tubefilter: Is YouTube your full-time job? How often do you film? What does the average day look like for you?
AMP: I would say YouTube is my full-time job…I guess. I don’t really look at it like a job. We film every two to three weeks. An average day would consist of planning, filming, scheduling, and talking with our editors or our management team at Long Haul Management on any upcoming sponsorships or opportunities. Looking at analytics and thinking about what we can push to the next level, both on our individual channels and AMP.
Tubefilter: Do you have any strategies for growing your audience? Have you noticed any particular kind of content getting more traction than others? Do you adjust what you film depending on how your viewers react?
AMP: Our main focus is to make good content. Our physical videos tend to do better than others videos we’ve posted. We do adjust if the viewers want a specific video because we do actually take the time and listen to our fans and interact with them on Social Media or even in person when we run into them in public. We always have an open ear and love to hear ideas from our fans.
Tubefilter: How do you make your videos stand out amidst all the noise on YouTube?
AMP: We don’t worry about the noise.
Tubefilter: What’s your favorite part of making content on YouTube?
AMP: The engagement. The comments. The feedback. Making someone’s day better even if it’s just a little bit. The fact that we can do that is amazing to us.
Tubefilter: Have you expanded your content and/or the AMP brand off YouTube at all? Launched any merch, a related business, a presence on another social platform, and so on? Do you want to?
AMP: Yes, we are exploring other social media platforms like TikTok and Facebook. Merch has yet to be officially released by AMP, but we do assure that it will be a must-cop when released! We have much more in store for our fans. This is only the beginning.
Tubefilter: What’s next for you? Any plans looking to the future?
AMP: Bigger and better content. More expansion. International. The future is looking bright.
This week’s installment of YouTube Millionaires is brought to you by Bright – a learning platform focused on real conversations that level up your life.
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For more info and to experience conversations that level up your life, head over to Brightlive.com.
Digital studio Portal A, known for its branded content productions, is doubling down on its efforts in the originals space in partnership with Pearl Street Films — the nine-year-old TV and film studio co-founded by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon.
The series, titled Reaver X Specter, is a sci-fi action horror drama set in Atlanta, Deadline reports, about an alien invasion disguised as a medical epidemic, whereby two rival sisters must put their personal baggage aside to work together to stop the attack.
Portal A and Pearl Street are currently pitching the project to broadcast networks and streaming services, according to Deadline. The series was created by writer/director Kholi Hicks and developed by Pearl Street’s Fanshen Cox and producer Brittany Turner. The Haunting of Hill Housewriter Jeff Howard will serve as consulting producer.
Pearl Street is behind noted films like Manchester By The Sea and Ridley Scott’s upcoming The Last Duel.
Portal A, for its part, is supercharging its efforts in the premium content space following a 2019 investment from Jimmy Kimmel-backed Wheelhouse Entertainment, according to Deadline.
In addition to Reaver X Specter, the company is readying a Snapchat series called Action Royale about a teenager who starts an underground esports gambling ring to pay off his father’s debts. Starring Sons of Anarchy’s Kim Coates, it will bow this fall. Also in the works at Portal A is Catalyst, a docuseries about the modeling agency that reps trans model and actress Hunter Schafer and Aaron Rose Philip — the first black, transgender, and physically disabled model to be repped by a major agency.
On the podcast front, Deadline reports, Portal A is producing What It’s Like with Molly Burke, in which the blind YouTuber will interview people with extraordinary stories.
The 2022 iteration of the consumer electronics conference will feature a program track dedicated to non-fungible tokens, cryptocurrencies, and other blockchain-based tech, Varietyreports.
For those unfamiliar, CES–which has been running annually since 1967–provides a forum for companies to introduce their latest cutting-edge innovations. The event also offers C Space, a hub for brand marketers, ad agencies, digital publishers, and social media platforms to present and network.
Karen Chupka, EVP of CES, told Variety that the track is intended to explore the history of NFTs and their impact on the art market, as well as the economics of cryptocurrencies.
“NFTs represent a dynamic fusion of technology and digital media,” she said. “The digital assets ecosystem is primed for significant growth in 2022 and beyond…We think the CES audience is ripe for that discussion.”
Longtime CES advisor United Talent Agency is consulting on the track. Brent Weinstein, partner and CIO at UTA, said that he believes blockchain-based tech will have “a massively disruptive impact on media for years to come.”
“There’s a misconception that there was this huge NFT rush earlier this year and the world has moved on, but that’s not true,” he said.
For 14 or so years, I have been making a living building some of the largest audiences on the YouTube platform. I’ve seen a lot of videos and channels.
What I always find the most interesting, though, is that even after all of the time I’ve spent, all of the videos I’ve watched, all of the papers I’ve written here on Tubefilter, all of the conversations I’ve had with other strategists, all of the data analyses and spreadsheets and reports that I’ve presented–there are still new things to discover, analyze, dissect, and share.
At my agency Little Monster, we’ve been spending a lot of time recently thinking about macro programming strategies on YouTube. What we’ve boiled it down to is that YouTube channels employ one of four typical growth strategies:
I’m going to lay out for you the foundation of each strategy, why it works, how and where it can fail, and the best practices required for each to succeed.
STRATEGY #1: Mass Upload
The T-Series Channel
The Mass Upload strategy is exactly what it sounds like (and the antithesis of the Little Monster Method…but more on that later). Within this strategy, a channel is not trying to maximize every upload, they’re trying to maximize upload-ing. In short, the mass-uploader is placing as many bets (videos) on the board as possible. The basic proposition is more videos should equal more views. And it’s not necessarily wrong.
Of the top 10 most viewed channels in the last 30 days as of this publication, according to Gospel Stats, four of them, including the top two most viewed channels, T-Series and SET-India, have more than 15,000 videos uploaded. Twenty-three channels in the top 100 have uploaded more than 10,000 videos, and 43 channels have uploaded more than 1,000 videos (YouTube Shorts channels excluded).
This strategy is largely employed by media companies with large libraries of content, and it would be difficult to imagine an independent creator being able to pursue this strategy in a sustainable way. However, it’s not impossible.
Take gamers, for instance. A little back-of-the-napkin math would indicate that if a gamer was able to upload 10 clips a day, they would be able to get to 10,000 uploads over the course of nearly three years.
Large media organizations don’t have this problem. They can use the mass upload strategy to generate billions of monthly views, and when they do, there are a few high-level best practices essential to success.
First and foremost, for this strategy to work, a channel must recognize that what they are really building is a content library. This library will primarily thrive on:
1.1 Content Quality
The word “quality” is subjective here, but let’s be honest: content farms typically mass-produce garbage videos and rarely succeed in the long run.
5-Minute Crafts monthly YouTube Views from January 2019 to May 2021.
On the other hand, the channel T-Series and similar brands succeed not just because of the volume of their library, but also the quality of the content therein. Just eyeballing on a cost-per-minute comparison, the videos being distributed on the T-Series channel probably cost 10x your average YouTube video or more.
The importance of this can not be understated. They are not just pumping out hot garbage on a plate. These are often music videos, movie trailers, or clips from TV shows and movies produced straight out of Bollywood that viewers are looking for.
That last bit is vital to the success of the Mass Upload strategy. If viewers are not looking for the type of content being mass produced, there’s a low likelihood of success with mass-uploading. Movieclips works because hundreds of millions of people are looking for these videos on a monthly basis.
Recent videos from Fandango’s Movieclips
1.2. Never Slow Down
Once a channel has begun to move toward mass uploading, growth is predicated on keeping a mass-upload pace or accelerating. Constantly adding to the library means that the channel will constantly create new opportunities to be recommended to viewers by YouTube.
Most of these uploads will not generate views in the long run. Some content will get a second wind and spike for one reason or another. But every now and then a mass-uploaded video will crank out millions of views a day, every day, for years.
This is where the Mass Upload strategy pays off.
By having many thousands of videos in the channel library, the mass uploader does not need every video to generate thousands or millions of views on a daily basis in perpetuity. They only need a few to break through.
1.3. Thumbnails and Metadata
Mass Upload channels depend largely on their library to drive viewership (as opposed to the success of each new upload). Despite having nearly 200 million subscribers, a new video on T-Series rarely breaks 100,000 views. The vast majority of their 3 to 4 BILLION monthly views are coming from their library of past uploads (videos older than 30-90 days).
In order for these videos to do well over time and be consistently recommended in YouTube’s main arteries (suggested, browse/homepage, and search) they need thumbnails that accurately represent the video, and metadata that is clear so that people can find what they are looking for.
In a recent Creator Insider video, YouTube stated that the recommendation system “finds videos for viewers, not viewers for videos.”
So, in order for YouTube to find your video for a viewer, the content must be doing a good job of satisfying the viewers who have already clicked on it. Thus, the importance of accuracy. When YouTube sees viewers are finding what they are looking for in your video the recommendation system will continue to serve that video to similar viewers; or viewers looking for that thing.
Please note that you do not need a master’s in YouTube “SEO” to succeed here. There’s no amount or “secret sauce” of keywords that will help you rank here. Those days are LONG gone. What matters is:
Viewer satisfaction: Did you deliver on your promise? Did people hang out and keep watching?
Click through rate: You can’t satisfy viewers if they don’t click.
Accuracy: You likely won’t “rank” for a term or topic if the audience and/or the recommendation system believe your video thumbnail or title is misleading.
Mass Upload channels do not need a highly engaged audience to succeed, and may in fact be some of the least engaged with channels given how few views new uploads receive. This strategy is about being everything to everyone (Walmart), instead of being a specific thing to a specific audience (Tiffany’s). The play here is to simply flood the zone with endless uploads as fast as possible. Go fast, and accurately portray the videos in your thumbnails and metadata and you can succeed.
STRATEGY 2: “Search” & The Utility Channel
A “Utility Channel” is how we at Little Monster refer to a channel whose viewership is largely driven by direct informational value to the intended audience. These are essentially channels that make videos where the viewer is there to receive specific information.
Huge audiences can be built here, but it’s difficult. Let’s take for example Khan Academy, whose viewership has little to do with how frequently they post, or the quality of any individual video. Khan Academy’s viewership has far more to do with when people are in school and looking for specific information on the classes they are taking. Note how their viewership thrives when class is in session, and plummets over the summer and over the holidays:
Khan Academy’s monthly YouTube views from January 2020 to May 20201.
While this is a pattern that generally seems to be true for similar educational or curriculum-based channels, other types of utility channels experience a strikingly similar need vs. viewership correlation.
Let’s take a car review channel, Redline Reviews. This channel regularly releases videos reviewing various cars, and their viewership can swing by as much as 300% upload to upload.
These two videos released within a few days of each other:
Two videos from Redline Reviews
What’s driving (pardon the pun) the viewership here is the need for information on a specific car. There are far more people interested in a brand-new model of car and in the price range of a Volkswagen ($32,000) than in the market for a car that has been around for a long time and in the price range of a BMW ($45,000).
Another type of channel that we at Little Monster call a utility channel are recipe channels. The viewership here is predicated on a potential viewer’s need to know how to make the food item being advertised in the thumbnail and title. Again, we still see sporadic viewership ranging from a few thousand views, to tens of thousands of views. As an example, here’s what the viewership on BuzzFeed’s Tasty looks like over 24 recent uploads:
Videos from Buzzfeed’s Tasty Channel
What these channels all have in common is that viewership is largely based on a potential viewer’s interest in the topic of the video. The viewer chooses to watch or not watch based on that particular video’s specific relevancy to them.
I’ve written and spoken extensively about the danger of having viewership be based on topicality previously. That said, in short, what this type of programming strategy leads to is unpredictable viewership, large swaths of your audience becoming less likely to be served your videos over time, and ultimately a mass upload strategy.
This leads to a mass upload strategy because that is the best way to succeed when you are a utility channel. This is true because the more videos you have that could potentially be relevant to a viewer, the more likely you are to gain viewership. The calculation is simple because if you want to grow as a utility channel, the more topics you cover (videos) the more potential viewership you will have. What is a library other than a utility to find the information you want?
Therefore, the same best practices that exist for Mass Upload hold true for a utility channel, with a few small tweaks:
Your channel’s niche largely determines the thumbnail style that is most likely to get your videos viewed. Recipe channels typically use glamour shots of the finished food product, car review channels use glamour shots of the featured car, and so on. These selections accurately represent the video, but more importantly adhere to conventions audiences have become used to and conditioned successful channels to use. Essentially, those channels that have come before you in a given niche have done the hard work of finding out what viewers are most likely to click on through years of trial and error.
2.2. Being first
Utility can significantly benefit from being first to do something. When the latest tech or gadget comes out, those who are able to secure early access and get videos uploaded quickly tend to outperform others who come after.
The reason for this is that if your video is one of the first to be uploaded on a given topic, it’s a video that YouTube will already have processed the data around. This means your video, if it has decent metrics, will likely be served at the top of Search, in Homepage feeds, and at the top of Suggested, as interest and viewership spikes on a given topic. Additionally, there’s likely to be a small supply of videos on the specific topic of interest, and therefore your video is more likely to be put in front of viewers rather than others.
This becomes an upward spiral as the increase in views leads to higher clickthrough rates as the video generates more and more social proof in the form of views. This leads to YouTube continuing to serve your video to more and more people in more and more places (assuming other factors remain relatively constant).
2.3. Specific Niche
While mass upload channels can be far more broad (“movies,” “music,” etcetera), Utility channels must find as specific of a niche as possible. This allows for your audience to flow across your videos more seamlessly as your videos’ close relation to each other means they are likely to be more relevant to the viewer.
These are the main differences between the Mass Upload strategy and utility channel strategy in regards to best practices. However, there’s a poison pill in the utility channel strategy.
The pill is that viewership is based on the viewer’s interest in a topic, which makes it extremely difficult to build a sizable audience. This is true because it’s unlikely that the people you get to watch one of your videos will want to watch many (or any) of your other videos, because they’re only watching based on the value they can get out of the initial video they clicked on, or their interest in the topic of a specific video in the first place.
The audience is not there for you the creator, the style of the content, or the format of the show or video.
For example, look at these screen grabs from some of the top search results for “how to make chocolate chip cookies”:
Besides the different logos, these three channels are virtually indistinguishable from one another in terms of personality, style, and format.
These are the three key areas where a utility channel can distinguish itself. Focusing on developing these three areas can make a utility channel move beyond just providing informational value, and allow them to provide “entertainment” value or “connection” value as well.
“To connect with others” was the third main reason people came to YouTube in Google’s study. This connection specifically relates to how a personality, talent, or host connects directly to their audience.
If there were a clear, repeatable science to creating this connection, there would be millions more full-time YouTubers, movie stars, and famous musicians. However, I don’t think this is some mysterious X-factor that you either have or you don’t. It can be honed and it can be leveled up through practice and training.
A common trope in our industry is “be authentic.” Hell, I’ve said it myself when advising creators at Little Monster. But I’ve never heard someone actually describe what that means in practical terms or at least define it in a way that is universally applicable.
My advice would be to study the creators on YouTube that you or your audience connect with. What do they do that makes you want to spend time with them? Find what that is, and what that is about you or your talent, and double down on that. Take improv classes. Practice making videos. I’m not saying you’ll be the next PewDiePie, Zendaya, or Cardi B, but improving your skills here can increase your chances of finding success on YouTube.
As it pertains to style, that’s simple and straightforward. Do people watch your videos because they really love the unique style of video you’re creating? Is there something you can do to make your style just a smidge or two better than those in your vertical? If so, this can make you and your content stand out amongst the sea of competitors.
The lovely thing about style is that it’s far less subjective than connection, there are far more resources to make yourself better at the actual art of video creation, and it doesn’t take a lot to really stand out.
When speaking to Utility channels, the aspect of content creation that Little Monster focuses on most is format. I’ve written extensively about how a channel can distinguish itself by way of format in my Taxonomyarticle here on Tubefilter. I encourage you to read that article with an open mind, and to keep in mind that what I am proposing in that article is a methodology about how to create anew format, not just ape what is already being done successfully.
What we are essentially advocating for here is moving a channel from having a Utility Channel approach (Mass Upload) to a Little Monster Method strategy. The reason for this is that by and large, most media companies and independent creators (who, by the way, are media companies whether they recognize it or not) will not be able to compete against the Mass Upload strategy. If you can out-upload the Mass Uploaders, by all means, give it a shot. But you’re more likely to bankrupt yourself or burn out than overtake a channel that already has thousands of videos and is adding more daily.
The vast majority of this type of channel will have to win not through quantity but through quality. Finding your footing in personality/talent, style, or format is the surest way we at Little Monster have found to do that.
STRATEGY #3: The Home Run Game
Channels that play The Home Run Game upload many different types of videos until one really takes off (home run!). Once you’ve hit a home run, you double down on whatever worked, the “value proposition” of that particular video, be it format, style, personality, topic, or some combination of the four.
We see this often in channels that have been around for a long time before suddenly exploding with growth. A few top examples of this are channels like Cocomelon, PewDiePie, and MrBeast. MrBeast uploaded well over 100 videos and was active on YouTube for six years before he reached 1,000 subscribers.
3.1. Playing The Home Run Game
This strategy can work in a few different scenarios:
You have an understanding of your channel’s core value proposition but can’t really get traction in your niche or vertical. In this scenariom it makes lots of sense to explore different styles, formats, and talent or performance styles.
For example, let’s say you’ve built a decent-sized audience in the home improvement vertical. You know your audience generally wants and expects you to talk about interior design. Your typical video shows you doing some sort of DIY project in your home.
Instead of doing the same thing in each successive upload, take some swings at the fences. Try reacting to various clichéd themes, critiquing celebrity homes, remaking things in a celebrity’s home, go handheld instead of on a tripod, and so on.
You have a large competitive advantage, like a brand. If you’re a media brand, you likely have a library of content. Is there something you can do with this library that others are not? A different format or style of video? If you’re a non-media brand can you leverage your access to events, celebrities, or products to get an advantage over people in this space? If so, take these swings.
Note that if you do hit a home run here, you’re going to want to move everything else you are creating to another channel or spin this type of content out into a separate channel. YouTube channels are designed for one core value proposition. Two competing shows or types of value propositions on the same channel will hurt both.
You have a new channel and therefore have room to experiment with no consequences. For people starting out on YouTube this is the perfect time to try things that are outside the norm. Every minute, 20+ DAYS worth of content is uploaded to YouTube. Do something unique to stand out in this content tsunami.
In the long run, the Home Run Game strategy should be considered a means to an end, with the end being a solidified, clear value proposition. If a channel always swings for the fences with wildly different programming, the audience will have no idea what to expect when YouTube serves them one of its videos.This will alienate both the audience and the recommendation systems. As a mentor once told me, you want to be dependable, but not predictable.
The home run game is not moneyball. The home run game is trying to become the Yankees on a Norwich Sea Unicorns budget.
STRATEGY #4: The Little Monster Method
Moneyball, the 2003 book and 2011 film starring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill, chronicles how Billy Beane took the Oakland A’s to the playoffs in 2002 and 2003, with one of the lowest team salaries in the majors.
Essentially, Beane built a team by leveraging data to select and utilize players who were statistically highly likely to lead to wins through their combined impact, without relying on individual superstars.
The Little Monster Method is moneyball for YouTube channels.
We use data to create and distribute videos for our clients that are highly likely to succeed with our client’s audience and thereby the YouTube recommendation system. Like Beane, our clients’ videos win because they are analytically designed to do so.
Our method is based on the premise that a YouTube channel should serve one audience a single core value proposition. We use the data in YouTube analytics to understand exactly what that audience is most interested in, and then super-serve them what they want.
This is a 360-degree approach to content creation, analyzing and optimizing the:
Value proposition of the channel
Format of the content
Style of the content
Talent on screen
Topics of videos
Length of the content
The two most important elements in this strategy are the Value Proposition and the format of both the channel and videos.
4.1. Value Proposition
A value proposition is essentially the answer to the question “Why does someone watch your videos/channel?” It can be a concept (“they will be inspired”), format (it will be a reaction video), style (a Wes Anderson film), personality (a specific person will be in the video), or a topic (videos will always be about surfing).
The value proposition doesn’t need to be universally true for every viewer, but it does need to be universally true for every video. For example, if we asked MrBeast’s fans “Why do you watch MrBeast?” you would get a lot of different answers. However, from MrBeast’s point of view, every video is a larger-than-life spectacle (therefore, that’s the value proposition).
For MrBeast, the other elements (format, style), while important, are not beholden to this same singularity. For example, he can do a Challenge video format in one video, and in the next a reaction/listicle video format.
In the video below, MrBeast is utilizing a very classic Challenge video format, where three teams are competing to win a prize. Here, it’s a house:
Utilizing a completely different format (reaction/listicle) MrBeast made a video where he tips waiters and waitresses with real gold bars:
As you can see these videos are completely different formats, but still deliver on the larger-than-life spectacle value proposition.
For MrBeast, format is less of a core necessity than for others. This is actually true for the vast majority of “influencers.” Quite often, once someone achieves influencer status, the core value proposition has become the creator.
MKBHD is a great example of a channel that has made personality it’s core value proposition. MKBHD’s core value proposition is that you get to hang out with him. He’s cool, transparent, humble, engaged, excited, and unflinchingly himself. He also has some of the slickest and most stylish “tech review” videos on the platform. Unlike other tech review channels, his content doesn’t adhere to a singular format at this point, because it doesn’t need to.
First We Feast by and large has two primary formats (in this case, named shows)–Hot Ones, and The Burger Show. By and large Hot Ones outperforms The Burger Show.
Recent videos from Complex’s First We Feast Channel
On MTV’s Wild ‘N Out, the rap battles and highlights from the show dominate the other types of content they’ve tried:
Video thumbnails from MTV’s Wild ‘n Out
And for Binging with Babish, his main show beats out the secondary show Stump Sohla regularly.
Recent videos from Babish Culinary Universe
The reasons these secondary shows all underperform (and there are countless examples) is because they do not match the core Value Proposition of the channel fully, as these are channels that are more reliant on a viewer’s interest in the format.
You may be asking, why does this matter? What’s the harm in putting multiple value propositions or multiple formats into one channel?
The problem lies in how YouTube’s recommendation systems are built and how audiences behave. To make recommendations, the YouTube recommendation system uses:
A viewer’s past viewing history (clicks, duration of view)
A viewer’s past engagement history (likes/comments/surveys)
Contextual information (device, location, time of day, etc.)
Collaborative filtering (How other similar viewers have engaged with a video)
Video stats (clickthrough rate, average view duration, user feedback)
This system is designed to treat each individual user independently, creating a YouTube that is customized specifically for them.
If a viewer has historically clicked on your videos regularly, watched them, and given positive feedback (implicitly, like spending a long time watching and then watching a bunch more of your videos, or explicitly, like filling out a survey about your video positively), YouTube will continue to serve them your videos. More importantly, YouTube will use this data and suggest your videos to similar viewers.
Now, let’s say you switch up your formats or introduce a new show concept and YouTube feeds the new format or concept to your audience…and they don’t like it. They don’t watch for very long, click “like,” or leave comments…You’ve changed the value proposition, and YouTube is going to ding you for it.
This is because YouTube is incapable of deciphering between two different series on a YouTube channel. The recommendation system is built to simply understand if a viewer clicked, watched, and enjoyed your videos the last few times they were recommended to that viewer.
Like we see with The Burger Show, Quarantine Workout, and Stump Sohla, audiences haven’t responded with the same enthusiasm, so YouTube serves these new concepts/formats to fewer people in their audience.
But it gets worse. Because YouTube is incapable of deciphering between different shows on your channel, it becomes less likely to serve your audience ANY of your videos in the future, including the type of video the audience initially liked. The introduction of a new value proposition is a big gamble–and from Little Monster’s point of view, a bad bet.
There are billions of videos on YouTube and 500 hours’ worth of content is uploaded every 60 seconds. Why should YouTube waste its time and impressions trying to decipher which specific videos from a channel a particular viewer might be interested in when they could just show them any of the millions of other videos with better metics from channels the viewer has a greater probability of enjoying?
In other words, YouTube is not going to subsidize your bad bet. Their value proposition to the audience is that there is nothing in the world as entertaining as YouTube. If your new series doesn’t support that idea as well as your previous series did, YouTube has to shield people from it in order to live up to their value proposition.
In addition, the impressions that could have been going to your high-performing videos have been going to these new concept/format, underperforming videos–a double whammy for you and your content.
All of this causes your viewership to bleed over time, and eventually leads to “channel decay,” possibly to the point of no return.
This is why channels that make the mistake of having multiple value propositions decline in viewership.
Don’t just take my word for it–here’s a graph of Babish Culinary Universe’s viewership over the last 12 months. The second show, Stump Sohla, first appeared on the channel in September of 2020:
Babish Culinary Universe monthly YouTube views from May 2020 to May 2021
Beyond value proposition and format, the other elements of a programming strategy all adhere to the same principles in the Little Monster Method.
4.3. Talent/Personality: Are we seeing high CTRs but low relative average view duration? If this is married to other data (like negative comments about the main person onscreen) this might be an indication of a needed shift in performance or talent. If there are multiple different talent onscreen, is there one that gets more positive comments? Are there there spikes (good) or click off (bad) when a specific talent or character is onscreen?
4.4. Style: What style of video does your audience most like to watch–handheld multi-camera with quick cuts, or a locked-down single camera and slower pacing? Here we’re looking at the difference in average view duration and average percentage viewed, and similar deep metrics.
4.6. Tactical Analytics: When we look at more tactical items in The Little Monster Method–titles, thumbnails, video length–our goal is to make the video the most “clickable,” without being misleading. Here we’re going to be analyzing things like the velocity of the video. Essentially, is the video getting more viewership in its first one hour, two hours, or ten hours than our other videos? What is it about the programming choice, thumbnail, and title that is causing this higher relative clickthrough rate? How many faces should we put in a thumbnail (if any)? Should we use text? Are we going for a clear value proposition as to what the video is about, creating an information gap, or teasing the viewer with our thumbnail and title combination? Do videos that fall between 17 minutes and 23 minutes on average generate the best average view duration for more viewership in the long run or is there a different sweet spot in length?
4.7. Timeline & Evolution: We break down content and best practices for a channel over the long run by looking at what worked at the 30-, 60-, 90-, and 365-day mark. Combining analytics over the short- and long-term and teasing out the often subtle differences helps Little Monster create maximum impact and reach quickly and over the lifespan of a video.
At Little Monster, we’re not looking for “viral” videos or home runs. We’re looking for videos that are more likely to get on base than they are to strike out. We’re using all of the data both on-platform and off-platform to make extremely well-informed decisions as to what combination of factors in strategy and tactics will lead to audience growth. We’re playing moneyball, and we’re winning. You should too.
Matt Gielen is the founder and CEO of Little Monster Media Co., a video agency specializing in production and audience development on YouTube. Founded in the summer of 2016 Little Monster has already helped dozens of clients big and small grow their audiences including MovieClips, Condé Nast, Viacom, CBSi, and NBCu. Formerly, Matt was Vice President of Programming and Audience Development at Frederator Networks where he oversaw the building of the audiences for Cartoon Hangover, Channel Frederator and the Channel Frederator Network.
You can read more of Matt’s articles on Tubefilter here, and follow Matt on Twitter.
TikTok is commemorating the one-year anniversary of TikTok For Business — its public-facing website where advertisers can review ad products, tender purchases, track spend, and glean best practices — with a new community-wide hashtag campaign.
Dubbed Re:Make, the campaign will see TikTok partnering with brands and agencies to reimagine iconic ads as TikToks, while also soliciting recreations from the TikTok community at large using the #TikTokReMake hashtag.
The inaugural brands to participate in Re:Make are Skittles, Snickers, and Old Spice. In a blog post, TikTok said that other brands could get in touch about participating in future installments.
Skittles will highlight its 2007 spot called Touch, where a protagonist turns objects into Skittles. Accordingly, creators Maddi Winter and Nick Uhas have put their own spin on the spot using animation and science experiments, respectively. Snickers, for its part, will fete its You’re Not You When You’re Hungry Super Bowl campaign starring Betty White — which has been reimagined by TikToker Ross Smith and his beloved grandmother (see below).
Finally, Old Spice has proffered 2010’s The Man Your Man Could Smell Like, starring Isaiah Mustafa — known to many as ‘The Old Spice Man’. For this ad, TikTok tapped U.K. creators Munya Chawawa and Niall Gray to put a distinctly British spin on the commercial by incorporating local references and British humor.
“TikTok is home to a new generation of creative community that has evolved the platform into a culture creation engine,” the company wrote in its blog. “Thanks to our creators, these timeless stories can be told and retold in exciting new ways.”
The multi-talented influencer Logan Paul has departed CAA to join competing talent agency WME.
WME will rep Paul in all areas of his career globally with an emphasis on television, film, digital, and brand partnerships. The 26-year-old will continue to be managed by Jeff Levin and represented by lawyers Adam Kaller and Duncan Hedges.
Paul is also the host of the Impaulsive podcast, which has released 200 episodes to date and amassed 2.7 million followers on an accompanying YouTube channel. Following appearances on The Masked Singer and at various WWE events, Paul is continuing to pursue opportunities in film and TV, according to WME. He is also the proprietor of a popular clothing brand called Maverick.
It was his sister who introduced him to his first platform, TikTok, in 2019. His earliest video appearances were in clips for her account–but when he struck out to make his own stuff, he wasn’t alone: his brother Jaden, whom we’ve previously featured as a Creator on the Rise, frequently guest-starred in his videos. Together, they came up with the mischievous challenge- and experiment-oriented content that has become a staple for both of them.
Like many of our other featurees, Sprinz didn’t set out to make a career out of content creation. But when he realized there was seemingly a method to the madness of TikTok, and that he could examine his audience’s responses to different videos and tweak future productions to perform better, he was determined to see if his findings (coupled with a regular upload schedule) could help him stake a presence on social media.
So, did it?
We think so.
Over the past two years, Sprinz has made more than 5,000 short videos, he says. He’s uploaded between four and eight videos per day across accounts on TikTok (where he has 14.9 million followers), Instagram (830K), Snapchat (following the launch of its TikTok competitor Spotlight), and, beginning in February 2021, YouTube Shorts (2 million).
Sprinz dropped his first Shorts video Feb. 9, and since then has uploaded at least one new video every single day. His plan quickly paid off: his fourth video, a Valentine’s-themed clip uploaded Feb. 13, went viral, and to date has racked up 7 million views. His next video, chronicling his disastrous smoke bomb Valentine’s Day “gift,” also caught on, and has amassed 44 million views.
Things haven’t slowed since. Between February and now, Sprinz has uploaded more than 850 videos to YouTube Shorts, and nearly 50 of them have brought in 10 million views each. His top-viewed clip, another version of the Valentine’s Day smoke bomb video, has a whopping 237 million views, and his second most viewed–about the superviral jelly fruit craze started by his brother Jaden–has 204 million.
Sprinz’s channel took off after he began uploading content to YouTube Shorts in February. Monthly viewership data from Gospel Stats.
Collectively, these videos drove Sprinz’s channel from 132,000 views in March to 392 million in April, 912 million in May, and 620 million in June. In the same timeframe, his subscriber count shot up from 400,000 to 2 million.
Sprinz says this success is a sign he’s on the right path. He still plans to stick to his multiplatform approach, but for now, Shorts is his main focus, and he hopes the visibility it’s giving him will provide a path to other creative pursuits, like podcasting and singing.
And, as he says in the description of every video, he also hopes his content will continue bringing new fans into the “Sprinz fam.”
Check out our chat with him below.
Tubefilter: Tell us a little about you! Where are you from? What did you get up to before launching a TikTok account and YouTube channel?
Austin Sprinz: My name is Austin Sprinz and I am from Phoenix, Arizona. Before I did TikTok and YouTube, I was living with my mom and sister on the couch! I was working on a clothing company business that had not yet taken off. I have always been creative, and put my whole soul into everything I do.
Tubefilter: When and why did you decide to start posting content on TikTok? Why did TikTok pique your interest? When and why did you expand your content to YouTube?
AS: My sister found out about TikTok a couple years ago at school with her mates. She came home and was excited to try it out, and wanted me to be in the videos with her. It was a lot of fun–I loved creating video concepts that people resonated with. Not too much later, I created my own accounts and started posting tons of content. I loved building an audience and algorithmically figuring out why some things performed better than others.
Eventually I knew that creating content was what I wanted to do with my life. I had remembered that Vine shut down in the past when no one thought it would. I knew I had to diversify my content so I wasn’t solely on TikTok.
I started a lot of other platforms that had the same model as TikTok: Triller, Kwai, Likee, Vigo, etcetera. I posted actively on all of them, then added in Snapchat and Instagram, and grew there.
I feel that it’s easy to get comfortable in the social media industry working on one platform and a main kind of niche. Although, I believe being able to adapt is one of the most important traits as the social media realm is constantly adapting.
YouTube eventually released Shorts, and I saw it as another amazing opportunity to diversify and introduce a new audience to my content. I feel like it’s easier to connect with a audience on YouTube also, with all the options they have in place, like Stories, Community posts, and so on.
Tubefilter: Some your best-performing videos are challenge- and experiment-themed. How did you find this niche? Why do you think viewers enjoy it so much? How do you make your videos stand out?
AS: Creating shortform content has allowed me the ability to experiment with tons of different video concepts. I have created around 5,000+ shortform videos. Every time, I make small changes in the video, consistently testing different theories I have. I feel like doing this for so long has given me a good idea of what my audience enjoys watching. It also allows me to try new concepts that no one has done, before which help the videos stand out a lot also.
Tubefilter: Your YouTube channel has recently seen a noticeable boost in subscribers and views. Do you know which video or event triggered this increase?
AS: It really has been exciting to watch the channel grow! I don’t think it was a single video that made an impact on the growth. I believe that posting four to eight videos a day consistently had a big impact on my channel, and all of the videos that really took off had a fun storyline involved in them!
Tubefilter: What role has YouTube Shorts played in the growth of your channel? Do you think Shorts offers creators advantages that YouTube main doesn’t?
AS: YouTube Shorts has played a very big role in the growth of my account. There is a large part of YouTube that craves long-form content, but there is also a piece that likes shortform. It’s why apps like TikTok are so popular. I do feel it’s easier to grow an audience faster on YouTube Shorts rather than main–however, YouTube Shorts are not monetizable. Therefore, I recommend Shorts for any creator who is purely looking to build a connection with their fanbase and grow.
Tubefilter: What’s your production process like? How long does the average video take from conception to posting? How often do you post new videos?
AS: My mornings are spent in deep thought working on new concepts and how to improve old ones. Have always been a fan of meditation. It allows me to clear my mind when I want to get into that creative flow. As of the moment, I have put most of my time and effort into Shorts, so the thought and creation process tends to be an almost full-day thing as of the moment.
Tubefilter: What do you hope people take away from your content?
AS: I didn’t have much growing up, and am beyond blessed to be at the point I am now, where I can make a meaningful impact on people. I hope that people watch my content whenever they are stressed or need a break, and can have a laugh. I also really hope that my content inspires people to create content of their own, if it’s something they are passionate about.
Tubefilter: Has your recent engagement uptick changed anything for you professionally? Do you have any new plans or goals for your content career? Is content a full-time pursuit for you right now?
AS: The recent uptick has shown me that I am on the right path. I want to be the biggest entertainer in the world. Now that I am very active on YouTube with Shorts, I want to create more long-form content alongside it!
Content is full-time for me! I want to get into new realms very soon too! Podcasting, singing, and contribution are some areas I want to start putting a lot of time into.
Tubefilter: What’s your favorite part of making content as a whole?
AS: I love turning my content idea into a reality. I love the creation process of it, trying to decide how long to make it. What the different shots will be, how to piece it together, what the twist will be. What will my audience think of the twist? Then editing the video and watching as it’s made better and better until it feels perfect!
Tubefilter: What’s next in the immediate future for you and your channel? Where do you see yourself in five years?
AS: I want to develop my brand more. I feel like long-form content helps a lot with that! I want to show people more of my personality and who I am, which is why podcasting has also really caught my interest. As of the moment, I’m spending so much time on shortform content that I haven’t been able to pursue some of these other options. However, that’s what I’m working on right now!
Five years from now, I would love to be the greatest Shorts creator on YouTube.
Jellysmack is the global creator company that detects and develops the world’s most talented video creators. The company’s proprietary video optimization technology and data drive social audience growth, unlocking new revenue streams and amplifying monetization.
Currently home to over 150 influential Creators including PewDiePie, MrBeast, Brad Mondo, and Bailey Sarian, Jellysmack optimizes, operates, and distributes creator-made video content to Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube. Jellysmack-managed content boasts 10 billion global monthly video views and a cross-platform reach of 125 million unique U.S. users, making it the largest U.S. digital-first company in monthly social media viewers.
Bitcoin-based rewards app Lolli is the latest company to receive investment from Sway House founders Josh Richards, Griffin Johnson, and Noah Beck through their venture fund Animal Capital.
Their investment was part of a $10 million Series A funding round for Lolli, which was founded in 2018 and says it gives users up to 30% of their purchase price back in free Bitcoin when they shop online at certain stores. The round was led by Acrew Capital, with participation from Banana Capital and digital talent company Up North Management.
Other investors in the round include content creators Logan Paul, Chantel Jeffries, LaurDIY, Kenny Beecham, and Baron Davis.
Returning investors include Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian’s Seven Seven Six, 3K VC, Gabriel Leydon, and Forerunner Ventures.
Lolli says funds raised will “contribute to the expansion of the company, hiring, new partnerships, and further development of the recently launched mobile app.”
It has paid out more than $3.5 million in Bitcoin rewards to users so far, it says.
In a statement, Richards (who along with Johnson and Beck has invested in a variety of companies over the past year and a half) described Lolli as a “frictionless avenue into bitcoin adoption” that has “successfully made earning bitcoin fun, accessible, and simple.”
He added, “At Animal Capital, we believe in companies that are meeting modern users where they are–by bringing opportunities to invest in bitcoin to shoppers of all ages. Lolli is poised to transform the way that people, especially young shoppers, think about investing.”
Richards, Johnson, and Beck launched Animal Capital in March. So far, the fund has invested in music platform Breakr, buzzy financial platform Step, and caffeine brand Super Coffee. Its advisory board boasts Twitch cofounder Justin Kan, Silicon Valley executive Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, the Winklevoss brothers, Jana Messerschmidt of Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Jason Levine of NewFlow Partners.
YouTube’s parent company, Alphabet, just reported all-time-high quarterly earnings–and a not insignificant portion of those earnings came from YouTube ad revenue.
The platform racked up $7 billion in ad revenue during the second quarter of 2021, which is around 11% of the record-setting $61.9 billion Alphabet reported.
That figure is $1 billion more than YouTube earned in the first quarter of 2021, and an 84% year-over-year jump from its ad revenue in Q2 2020.
This means that, aside from a slight COVID-caused dip in Q2 2020, YouTube’s ad earnings have consistently grown quarter to quarter since the company began reporting stats in early 2020. And if digital advertising continues to explode, it’s very possible we’ll see YouTube making $10 million or more per quarter by this time next year–especially considering YouTube Shorts is on the verge of getting ads.
Shorts, YouTube’s TikTok competitor, was also highlighted in Alphabet’s earnings report. Alphabet/Google CEO Sundar Pichai said on a call that YouTube Shorts now brings more than 15 billion views per day–more than double the 6.5 billion views per day YouTube reported in March.
At the moment, Shorts does not run ads the way YouTube main does. But in May, when YouTube introduced the YouTube Shorts Fund to get creators of popular Shorts paid, it said it plans to “begin to test and iterate on ads” for the shortform service.
If and when ads are implemented wide on Shorts, we can certainly expect to see another bump in YouTube’s revenue from all those millions of viewers generating all those billions of views.
Alphabet additionally spotlighted YouTube viewership on TVs, something the platform has been pushing foryearsnow. More than 120 million people watch YouTube content on televisions each month, Google CBO Philipp Schindler said during Alphabet’s earnings call, perCNBC.
Schindler also noted that connected TV is “the fastest growing consumer surface that we have.”
Overall, Alphabet reported earnings per share of $27.26 versus a projected $19.34, and the $61.9 billion it earned was well above a projected $56.16 billion. YouTube was expected to earn $6.37 billion in ad revenue.
[Editor’s Note: Tubefilter Charts is a weekly rankings column from Tubefilter with data provided by GospelStats. It’s exactly what it sounds like; a top number ranking of YouTube channels based on statistics collected within a given time frame. Check out all of our Tubefilter Charts with new installments every week right here.]
Scroll down for this week’s Tubefilter Chart.
This week, our ranking of the 50 most-viewed U.S.-based YouTube channels is particularly competitive.
The top five channels in this chart all increased their viewership over the previous week, and they all reeled in at least 300 million weekly views. The #1 channel in the ranking exceeded that benchmark two-and-a-half times over.
LankyBox is the most-viewed YouTube channel in the world this week, so that naturally makes it the most-viewed U.S.-based YouTube channel as well. Though gaming — and Roblox in particular — is LankyBox’s bread and butter, the channel also incorporates everything from challenges to reactions to short-form clips. Put that all together and you get 758.9 million weekly views.
The only other U.S.-based channel to pick up more than a half-billion views this week is Cocomelon – Nursery Rhymes. The California-based purveyor of animations, jingles, and other kid-friendly creations amassed 559.5 million weekly views over our latest seven-day measurement period. That viewership allowed Cocomelon to place second in our U.S. Top 50, one spot ahead of Kids Diana Show. The digital home of children Diana and Roma, who are of Ukrainian heritage, finished ahead of the other family vlogs that often find spots in our U.S. top five. Diana’s seven-day traffic totaled 374.1 million weekly views.
Two channels that specialize in short-form content round out this week’s U.S. top five.
Satisfying Mix, which uses the popularity of YouTube’s “oddly satisfying” trend to peddle videos that are sometimes not so satisfying, added 347.4 million weekly views in our most recent count, which was good enough for fourth place in this chart. Most of those views came on the YouTube Shorts platform, which has also been kind to Romina Gafur. The dancer and TikTok personality, who is now making her mark on YouTube, rounds out this week’s U.S. top five. She picked up 314.6 million weekly views.
YouTube Shorts has become a major force in the online video world, and as a result, we’ve seen a lot of channels in our U.S. top 50 that focus on unusual content categories, such as golf, swimming, and cocktails. While those hubs are certainly seeing big returns with their micro-video work, there’s also a place on YouTube Shorts for creators who play to the internet’s most abundant audiences.
Jack Alexus is one of those creators.
The Wisconsin-based videomaker has 1.3 million followers on TikTok, and thanks to the nature of his content, he’s now making his mark on YouTube as well. Alexus releases short-form sketches and skits that take place within the blocky world of Minecraft and reference the game’s characters, tools, situations, and lore. On July 8, he posted a 13-second video in which he gets some help from one of the game’s shambling Creepers. The clip has more than 21.6 million views.
Minecraft content has long been one of YouTube’s big draws, and by appealing to that community, Alexus is putting up big numbers. In our most recent U.S. chart, he scored 82.8 million weekly views, which represented a 9% week-over-week uptick.
Thanks to that increase, Alexus made his first appearance in our U.S. Top 50, moving up to 42nd place. It’s fair to say that Alexus’ Creeper content is absolutely blowing up.
[Editor’s Note: Tubefilter Charts is a weekly rankings column from Tubefilter with data provided by GospelStats. It’s exactly what it sounds like; a top number ranking of YouTube channels based on statistics collected within a given time frame. Check out all of our Tubefilter Charts with new installments every week right here.]
Scroll down for this week’s Tubefilter Chart.
A channel that strikes a balance between short-form and long-form content has found its way to the top of our weekly ranking of the 50 most-viewed YouTube channels in the world. It is one of many hubs in our global chart that has a big presence on the YouTube Shorts platform, which continues to have an outsized impact on online video viewership.
LankyBox is the top channel in this week’s global ranking. The American content hub, which features various modes in games like Roblox and Minecraft, has accelerated toward the top of our chart by utilizing the YouTube Shorts platform. Justin and Adam, the two gamers who host LankyBox videos, pulled in 758.9 million weekly views in our latest count.
Even T-Series could not keep up with that rate of weekly viewership. The Indian record label, which often finds itself atop our global ranking, ended up in second place this week after reeling in 741.4 million weekly views. In terms of lifetime viewership, T-Series still has 50 billion more views than any other channel in this chart.
Sony SAB took third place in this week’s global top 50. The Indian comedy destination picked up 7% more viewership than what it earned last week, finishing with a seven-day total of 567.4 million weekly views. That was just enough to eclipse Cocomelon – Nursery Rhymes, which ended up fourth in the world this week. The kid-friendly American channel, which spent much of 2020 as the #1 channel in this chart, was able to move up one spot from its position last week after snagging 559.5 million weekly views.
Colors TV rounded out our latest global top five. The third-most watched Indian channel of the week tallied 378.3 million weekly views.
If we ranked this week’s top 50 channels in terms of their lifetime viewership, the order would look a bit different. T-Series would be first, and Cocomelon would be second, but third place would go to the WWE. The YouTube home of World Wrestling Entertainment has collected more than 60 billion total views since it first launched in 2007, and it’s still going strong. Over our most recent seven-day measurement period, the WWE registered 275 million weekly views, which was a 28% increase over the total it posted a week prior. Thanks to that uptick, the wrestling hub elbowed its way up to 12th place in our global ranking.
Unsurprisingly, it is the biggest stars in the wrestling world who drive much of that traffic. The WWE YouTube channel offers all sorts of content, ranking from full matches to ringside interviews, but its most-viewed videos tend to feature notable names like Roman Reigns and John Cena. The latter star’s dramatic appearance at the WWE’s Money in the Bank event has garnered 3.3 million views since arriving on YouTube on July 19.
YouTube is still a vital part of the WWE’s content strategy, but the time-honored media company is finding new ways to diversify its approach to entertainment. It recently launched an effort to use TikTok to recruit its next generation of wrestlers and announcers.
Here’s a breakdown of the Top 50 Most Viewed channels this week in terms of their countries of origin:
United States: 21 channels in the Top 50.
India: 13 channels in the Top 50.
Russia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and United Kingdom: 2 channels in the Top 50.
Argentina, Canada, France, Israel, Latvia, Pakistan, Romania, and Turkey: 1 channel each in the Top 50.
Twitch has named noted online video executive Constance Knight its VP of global creators.
Twitch says the hire serves to double down on its commitment to creators amid an ongoing shift beyond gaming. Knight will be tasked with improving the Twitch experience for diverse creators around the world, the company said.
Knight most recently served as global head of video curation and short form content at Instagram, where she advised on product and partnership development and managed the editorial team for Reels. Prior to that, she led strategic growth initiatives for content creators and media partners at YouTube. Before transitioning to digital media, Knight was the VP and head of home entertainment at BET Networks.
“Creators are the heart and soul of Twitch, and as we continue to see more people finding their community on Twitch, now is the perfect time to add more support for global creators to our internal team,” chief content officer Michael Aragon said in a statement. “Constance is an experienced and passionate leader who brings a wealth of knowledge from across the streaming industry.”
After more than a decade, YouTube’s premiere tech reviewer, Marques ‘MKBHD’ Brownlee, has unveiled a secondary channel that will be dedicated to behind-the-scenes content, vlogs, and mini reviews.
Dubbed The Studio, the hub will complement Brownlee’s flagship tech review channel, which is home to 14 million subscribers and 40 million monthly viewers. Roughly a day after its launch, The Studio has already amassed 175,000 subscribers.
The debut video on the channel introduces viewers to the MKBHD team in tandem with a studio tour. The team comprises: producer and Waveform podcast co-host Andy Manganelli, DP and art director Vinh Dang, creative director Brandon Havard, motion designer Mikey Emerick, producer Hayato Huseman, graphic designer Tim McMahon, writer/researcher David Imel, and podcast producer Adam Lukas.
As a physical space, the Studio comprises two set rooms, a rec area, a robot room, a gaming station/kitchenette, the Waveform studio, a gaming room, prop room, and camera room.
Nothing, a tech startup that counts YouTuberCasey Neistat as an investor, has today unveiled its first product: a pair of wireless headphones dubbed the Ear (1).
The earbuds are predominantly distinguished by a transparent design that exposes their engineering, microphones, magnets, and circuit board — as well as active noise cancellation and 34 hours of playtime. Ear (1) also features a red color to distinguish the right earphone, and comes with three liquid silicone tips. They are priced at $99.
A limited-edition drop in the U.S. will launch at 9 am ET on July 31 at nothing.tech, while the product will roll out widely in August across 45 countries, including the U.S., U.K., and Canada.
London-based Nothing says its mission is to bring “artistry, passion, and trust” to the field of consumer technology. In addition to Neistat, Nothing is backed by Google Ventures, iPod inventor Tony Fadell, Twitch co-founder Kevin Lin, and Reddit co-founder and CEO Steve Huffman.
The startup — led by co-founder and CEO Carl Pei, who previously founded the consumer tech firm OnePlus — unveiled the Ear (1) in a sponsored YouTube live stream this morning on the channel of tech review channel Unbox Therapy (18 million subscribers, 20 million monthly views). During the event, Unbox Therapy host Lewis Hilsenteger interviewed Pei and Neistat, and Neistat also discussed his passion for investing in tech startups after selling his own startup, Beme — including investments in Stir, Public, and Haus.
YouTube Music has announced the largest global class to date for its Foundry — a five-year-old independent artists development initiative that underwent a revamp in 2019 to furnish marketing and promotional support over a longer period of time.
Artists selected for the YouTube Music Foundry receive dedicated partner support from YouTube and seed funding for content development.
This year’s class, for which YouTube Music says it received the most applications ever, comprises 27 artists representing 14 countries. (The 2020 class, for reference, comprised 12 artists).
The 2021 class includes: R&B singers Sinead Harnett, Raveena, Fana Hues, Ebhoni, Enny, and Chilldspot; hip hop artists SoFaygo, Reggie, Paris Texas, Paranoid 1966, Rote Mütze Raphi, Meekz Manny, and Seehe Maut; country singer Tenille Arts; alt/indie artists Snail Mail, Ambar Lucid, Sycco, Junior Mesa, Tuyo, and SE SO Neon; Latin Urban artists Tokischa, Blessd, and Bad Milk; Latin pop star Marina Sena; Afrobeats artist Bella Shmurda; electronic star Shygirl; and popstar Doul.
YouTube notes that the Foundry launched as a workshop series, and has seen 150 artists from 15 countries come through its doors to date, including starry alums like Dua Lipa and Rosalía.
You can check out an introduction video to this year’s class right here:
Instagram and its parent company Facebook have announced a series of changes today that are designed to protect younger users. Going forward, both platforms said that advertisers will only be able to target users under age 18 based on their age, gender, and location.
Previously, advertisers on Instagram, Facebook, and Messenger could target these users based on their interests or activities across other apps and websites. The update will be global, Facebook says, and roll out in coming weeks.
“We already give people ways to tell us that they would rather not see ads based on their interests or on their activities on other websites and apps, such as through controls within our ad settings,” the company wrote in a blog post. “But we’ve heard from youth advocates that young people may not be well-equipped to make these decisions. We agree with them, which is why we’re taking a more precautionary approach in how advertisers can reach young people with ads.”
Additionally, while users must be at least 13 years old to create an Instagram account, that platform will now give all new users under 16 a private account by default — though they will have the option to go public. (Private accounts enable only followers to see their grid posts, Stories, and Reels, whereas public accounts are viewable to everyone on Instagram).
During a test prior to this rollout, Instagram said that eight of 10 users accepted the private default setting during sign-up. And while the changes will only apply to new users, existing users between the ages of 13 and 16 will be notified about how to change their privacy settings, Instagram says.
Finally, in order to stop unwanted contact between young users and adults, Instagram says it is implementing machine learning technology that can identify suspicious accounts and prevent them from seeing content from younger users (under age 16) in Explore, Reels, suggestions, or search. Accounts that have been identified as suspicious also won’t be able to see comments or make comments on the accounts of younger users.
These updates are rolling out today in the U.S., Australia, France, the U.K. and Japan, Instagram says, and will expand to more countries soon.
The previously-announced child protection changes arrive as Instagram reportedly has a standalone platform in the works expressly for kid users — à la YouTube Kids — that could be dubbed Instagram Youth. However, this venture that has earned the ire of lawmakers who fear that it could exacerbate children’s mental health and privacy issues, and enable predators to more easily victimize children.
As part of the sponsorship, 100 Thieves’ content house has been renamed the Lexus Content House, and members Valkyrae and Fuslie have been named Lexus ambassadors.
The newly-christened content house is where several 100 Thieves members call home in Los Angeles, and marks a separate facility from the similarly-sponsored 100 Thieves Cash App Compound, the company’s facility for esports training, apparel design and retail, video production, and business HQ.
“Lexus sees an authentic connection between vehicles, culture and premium lifestyle,” Lexus’ VP of marketing Vinay Shahani said in a statement. “Through our collaboration, our goal will be to surprise and delight the 100 Thieves community with innovative content and elevated experiences developed uniquely for them.”
In addition to Lexus and the Cash app, 100 Thieves also has brand deals in place with Boston Beer Company and AT&T.
You can check out the partnership reveal right here:
Online community platform Discord has created a six-minute movie about its raison d’etre starring Danny DeVito and Awkwafina.
The film was born on Discord — of course — after the company asked community members to join a Server to discuss their experiences and aspirations on the platform, which ultimately spawned the short film. (Servers refer to forums for communities or friend groups that are typically small and invite-only).
“These community members helped us realize the spaces they found on Discord, dictating set design, scene choices, casting decisions, and much more,” the company wrote in a blog post. “We’re proud to find inspiration, guidance, and direction from our community in all of these ways and so many more, likeuser-submittedfeature suggestions, which have had a tremendous role in getting us where we are today.”
The film also highlights several prominent members, including Lucie Winterwolf (the leader of a six-year-old game advice group called the Helpful Pirate Society); Kevdog (owner of the partnered Oceanside Pokemon server); Miruki_Tea (who struggled with hardship but learned to assert her identity on Discord); and Navi King (who owns two Partnered Discord servers and manages several more while working on a networking server for community mentors and leaders).
You can check out the film — which also features cameos from YouTube megastars MrBeast, Marques Brownlee, and Bretman Rock — right here:
Studio71 will manage direct (manual) advertising for Bored Panda Group across both YouTube and connected TVs, working with the media company to establish new revenue streams on platforms like Roku, Amazon Fire, and Vizio.
The multi-channel network already reps three channels from the Bored Panda Group, which it signed last year: Little Panda, Crafty Panda Bubbly, and Hungry Panda.
“Bored Panda Group is excited to have Studio71 as an exclusive partner for the video branch of the business,” Bored Panda founder and CEO Tomas Banišauskas said in a statement. “We believe that this partnership will help us open additional revenue streams and business possibilities.”
Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal’s comedy chat series, dubbed Good Mythical Morning, launched on Jan. 9, 2012 and has been viewed 7.3 billion times to date — to the tune of an average of 75 million monthly views. Mythical notes that this viewership is comparable to its broadcast TV talk show peers. Good Mythical Morning airs nearly year-round on weekdays, with its eponymous YouTube channel having amassed 17.2 million subscribers.
In order to fete its 200th show, the guys taste-tested a $2,000 cake, and also announced the launch of a limited-edition silver coin to commemorate the achievement — priced at $20 and only available through July 30. Each coin is packaged in a collector’s edition box and includes an insert with a special message from McLaughlin and Neal.
You can check out the duo’s 2000th episode right here:
Twitter’s stock rose 4% in after-hours trading following its reveal of stronger-than-anticipated second-quarter earnings.
The company reported total revenue of $1.19 billion, more than analysts’ projected $1.07 billion and a 74% year-over-year increase from Q2 2020. In its letter to stockholders, Twitter attributed its revenue to “better-than-expected performance across all major products and geographics.”
By far its biggest revenue driver–as usual–was advertising. Twitter saw a “broad increase in advertiser demand” throughout the quarter, it said, and as a result $1.05 billion of its revenue came straight from ad sales. That figure is an 87% YOY jump from the amount of revenue it earned on advertising in Q2 2020 (which, we must note, was the quarter where ad sales across the entire internet dipped thanks to the onset of COVID-19).
Twitter attributed some of this increased advertiser demand to its introduction of new ad products–particularly direct response ads, which call on consumers to take a specific action, like liking/sharing a tweet, spreading a hashtag, or filling out a survey.
The platform also credited product introductions and improvements for its Q2 growth in “monetizable” daily active users (mDAUs). It’s now up to 206 million mDAUs, a 7 million user gain from Q1 2021, and up 11% YOY from Q2 2020.
Products Twitter launched during the quarter include Twitter Blue, its first subscription service; Spaces, its Clubhouse copycat (with pay-to-listen events incoming); and Tip Jar, a monetization-for-creators feature that lets users tip one another.
Twitter also announced (but didn’t launch) Super Follows, a YouTube Channel Memberships/Twitch subscriptions-esque feature where people will be able to pay $4.99 per month for extra content from tweeters who have at least 10,000 followers.
It’s not yet clear what impact these features will have on Twitter’s revenue, but in a call with analysts, CFO Ned Segal said the company’s role is “facilitating” transactions so creators can profit from their content.
“If a creator is creating great content, and you see it in Super Follows, or it’s just a tweet and somebody puts money in their Tip Jar, or it’s long-form content that we include in a different price point for a subscription, without ads […] then we would make sure that part of the value that can be attributed to the creator where those dollars go to them and that we’re facilitating a transaction,” Segal said, perCNBC.
Twitter said it expects to earn between $1.22 billion and $1.3 billion in Q3.
Nevertheless, Singh’s Hollywood onslaught will continue. In a video announcing her comeback to YouTube, she noted that her studio Unicorn Island Productions has a first-look deal with NBCUniversal in place to develop unscripted projects. She’s also working on a Netflix series with Black-ish creator Kenya Barris, shooting season two of comedy series Dollface on Hulu, and says that other secret projects are in the works.
“Throughout everything that has happened in my career and personal life, I still feel like this channel is a place that I’m excited about, a place that I can share my unfettered ideas and make videos I think are fun and funny and crazy and also make commentary that I think is important,” Singh said.
On YouTube, she has remained somewhat consistent with Shorts, parodies, and sketches, but nowhere near the weekly uploads of yesteryear. Her channel has amassed 14 million subscribers and 7 million monthly views.
Snapchat shared in its quarterly earnings report that it now counts 293 million daily users — an increase of 55 million users (or 23%) over Q2 last year. Revenues increased 116% year-over-year to $982 million, the company reported.
At the same time, Snapchat said that daily users of its TikTok-like Spotlight hub grew 49%, while content submissions tripled and time spent by users in the U.S. also climbed 60%.
This growth arrived amid myriad Spotlight updates, including a web destination enabling viewers to browse content without a Snapchat account, and new monetization opportunities, such as virtual gifts the company calls Snap Tokens. Though CEO Evan Spiegel noted that the company is not yet ready to implement ads within the Spotlight hub.
“We’ve done some small testing with advertising in Spotlight, so that we’re ready when we want to turn on,” he said in an earnings call. “But for now, we’re just really focused on the core experience…We’ve got a great roadmap of improvements. And we just don’t want the team to get distracted frankly with monetization at this point.”
Snapchat also touted its international growth, noting that it has launched 177 Discover channels, including 36 in the U.K. and 24 in India — where daily time spent watching Snap Originals and premium publisher content has increased by 150% year-over-year. All told, Snapchat says it counts 500 content partners in 17 countries.
“Our second quarter results reflect the broad-based strength of our business, as we grew both revenue and daily active users at the highest rates we have achieved in the past four years,” Spiegel said in a statement. “We are pleased by the progress our team is making with the development of our augmented reality platform, and we are energized by the many opportunities to grow our community and business around the world.”
Looking to Q3, Snapchat is projecting revenues of roughly $1.1 billion — a roughly 60% increase over the $679 million it took in in Q3 2020.
It’s getting a bit dizzying keeping track of all the ways Netflix, the O.G. online streamer known for ladling dozens of series and movies a month onto its subscribers, is busy trying to do a whole bunch of other things beyond video.
The moves promise to reshape the world’s biggest streaming service into something a bit wider, perhaps less focused, but also more engaging and sticky than what’s on offer from its burgeoning competition. And by competition, I mean not just other streaming services, or even traditional linear movies, cable, and broadcast TV.
Just as Netflix co-CEO Reed Hastings routinely does, I’ll define “competition” as TikTok, and YouTube, and live sports, and Fortnite, and a bunch of other things that can deeply absorb our attention for hours at a time.
Like the social media companies that have (in sometimes deeply problematic ways) engineered their interfaces to keep you clicking, flicking, connecting, and “engaging” for hours, Netflix clearly understands that its main job is to keep us wanting to use it more than anything else. And it’s now going to try to build new ways to keep you connected to its service for even longer.
Netflix took a big step into the future, using its quarterly earnings call Tuesday to detail plans to move into video games as a free enhancement to its existing subscriptions. It previously announced the hiring of Mike Verdu, a well-respected veteran of Electronic Arts and Facebook‘s virtual reality unit Oculus, to head the new game division.
Netflix is hardly the first media company with an in-house game unit. The rise and fall and rise of game divisions at Disney, Warner Bros., and other studios is a long and tortured history. And of course, Sony makes more money from industry leader PlayStation than it does from any of its movie, TV, and music divisions.
And Netflix isn’t the first tech giant to have a gaming investment either.
In March, Facebook Watch wrapped the first season ofRival Peak, a hybrid show with a vibe that crosses Big Brother, Survivor, The Sims, and secret government lab. It features 12 animated characters controlled by the collective decisions of hundreds of thousands of viewers, with a weekly highlight show hosted by Wil Wheaton. CEO Jacob Navok said the show racked up 100 million minutes of view time, 96 percent of it on mobile devices.
Creator Genvid calls Rival Peak a “massive interactive live event” (aka MILE) and just raised $113 million from a range of big-name investors. Navok said the company has four other such MILEs in development, all paired with prominent franchises.
Meanwhile, Microsoft has Xbox, dozens of excellent development studios, and the Windows operating system that is home to most PC gaming. Apple has Arcade and the vast mobile game ecosystem on its iOS App Store. Even Amazon is making games, if not very successfully, alongside its vast video investments, which include Twitch, the gamer world’s livestreaming megaphone.
For the first time, audience demand for Netflix original shows comprises less than half the overall total, according to Parrot Analytics.
Netflix has plenty of motivation to diversify beyond video, though, and fast. Parrot Analytics this week released data suggesting audience interest (it uses a metric called demand share) in the streamer’s original programming is dropping compared to other streaming services. For the first time last quarter, Netflix originals commanded less than half that audience interest, though its share was still bigger than the next six services combined.
The key here is that streaming competition is growing fast. Netflix can keep spending $17 billion or more per year to make new shows, while everyone else does much the same thing. Or it can explore ways to move beyond the single pillar of its substantial success.
To its credit, the company has experimented with games for a while, part of a long-running internal conversation that executives said was typical before embarking on big new initiatives.
Back in 2018, Netflix made a splash with Bandersnatch, a relatively simple choose-your-own-adventure episode of Black Mirror, its creepily spot-on anthology of the dystopian side of our onrushing future. Netflix also has licensed games to experienced developers based on its biggest original hit, Stranger Things.
Next week, the company kicks off a touring virtual reality experience,Viva Las Vengeance: Army of the Dead, built around its recent Zack Snyder-directed action horror film. Some 75 million subscribers watched during the movie’s first four weeks of release, Netflix said, making it one of the company’s 10 most-watched movies ever.
Viva Las Vengeance lets up to six participants fight virtual zombies from inside a taco truck over a 30-minute experience that evokes key parts of the movie. The experience also features themed food from Sin City Tacos, including Zombie Mulitas, TacosAlphas, and the Viva Burrito.
The experience, which was developed with Fever and Pure ImaginationStudios, is scheduled to debut in New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Washington, D.C., with plans to bring the experience to 17 more cities in coming months.
It’s tempting to think of that sort of traveling experience as simply a marketing extension, another part of Netflix efforts to build a narrative universe that’s already spawned a prequel and a spinoff.
After all, Netflix spent an estimated $879,000 on TV advertising for the show, and generated more than 51 million impressions, according to estimates from iSpot.TV. The company also sprinkled 10 trailers and other videos across Facebook and YouTube, grabbing nearly 20 million views, according Tubular Labs.
But it’s more useful to put Viva Las Vengeance and the game initiative together as part of a broader effort to move Netflix into the next generation of entertainment, with the kinds of immersive experiences that have been called virtual reality, mixed reality and augmented reality.
In that regard, new hire Verdu’s experience with Oculus will be useful, as will the company’s experience with Viva Las Vengeance, Bandersnatch, and even those Stranger Things games.
All the big tech companies (and don’t forget Snap, the original AR innovator that just had a fabulous quarter) are investing billions in immersive technologies, because they know it represents the next stage of computing, beyond desktops, mobile phones and tablets.
If Netflix wants to continue to be relevant in this next generation of entertainment (and information, news, sports, work, and much else), it needs to begin learning now how to make immersive experiences that keep its subscribers around, watching its offerings for hours at a time, and paying for its subscriptions for years to come. In multiple meanings of the term, it’s just a matter of time.
[Editor’s Note: Tubefilter Charts is a weekly rankings column from Tubefilter with data provided by GospelStats. It’s exactly what it sounds like; a top number ranking of YouTube channels based on statistics collected within a given time frame. Check out all of our Tubefilter Charts with new installments every week right here.]
Scroll down for this week’s Tubefilter Chart.
This week, in our ranking of the top 50 most-viewed U.S.-based YouTube channels, kid-friendly content providers managed a clean sweep of the top five spots.
In general, the domination of family-oriented hubs within the U.S. top 50 is a reminder of the demographic that provides more viewership than any other. At the top of the heap is a channel that appeals to said demographic while also experimenting with new formats and trends.
For much of the first half of 2021, LankyBox found itself swimming in the middle of our U.S. top 50. Since it began to use YouTube Shorts, however, the gaming channel has exploded, and it has now claimed the #1 spot in this ranking for two successive weeks. Hosts Adam and Justin mixed-and-matched various video styles to pick up 756.2 million weekly views over our most recent seven-day measurement period. No other U.S.-based channel amassing even 75% of that total.
This week’s American runner-up is Cocomelon – Nursery Rhymes. The California-based producer of animations and jingles is a longtime force in this chart, and though its traffic has dropped quite a bit since the billion-view week it boasted last year, its latest seven-day total — 516.7 million weekly views — is impressive.
Third place in this week’s U.S. top 50 went to Kids Diana Show. The channel, home to its titular, seven-year-old star, held onto the ranking it achieved last week thanks to 351.6 million weekly views. On their flagship channel, Diana and her brother Roma are closing in on 60 billion lifetime views.
Like Nastya placed fourth in our latest U.S. chart. The Russian-American family vlog snagged 305.5 million weekly views, which was 13% more than what it picked up the week prior. That increase allowed Nastya to jump up three spots, and in the process, she supplanted a pair of child stars who also have Russian roots. Vlad and Niki, which finished fourth in the U.S. top 50 last week, dropped back to fifth in our latest count, despite picking up 297.5 million weekly views.
If you want to see the impact that YouTube Shorts can have on a single channel, take a dive into the world of Underwater Tori. For the past year, the aquatic creator has plied away on her titular YouTube channel, accruing about 5.5 million total views. At the end of 2020, she launched a YouTube hub devoted to short-form content, and Underwater Tori Shorts has since taken off, bringing in more than 823 million lifetime views in under seven months’ time.
Tori’s YouTube empire showcases a number of waterborne activities, ranging from underwater TikTok dancing to sun-dappled frolicking on a Caribbean beach. A number of the top videos on Underwater Tori Shorts feature a contraption known as the “World’s Largest Toilet,” in which Tori often appears alongside her friends and family. In the interest of good taste, allow me to present this clip of a picturesque dive instead; since it was uploaded at the end of June, it has received more than 64 million views.
With all these micro-videos, Underwater Tori Shorts has made a splash. Over our most recent seven-day measurement period, the channel tallied 125.9 million weekly views, which ranked it 25th among all channels based in the United States. Tori needed just seven days to double her short-form YouTube traffic and move herself one spot ahead of U.S top 50 stalwart MrBeast. I can’t say I’m surprised. It’s hot outside, and we could all use a little dip in a giant toilet bowl.