YouTube’s biggest star PewDiePie earns an estimated $4 million annually from ad revenue, according to the Wall Street Journal. YouTube and its stars have featured prominently in the news ever since that Wall Street Journal article in June.
Hollywood is Taking YouTube Stars Seriously
PewDiePie is not the only YouTuber doing the rounds on the news. YouTube can no longer be viewed as a smaller stepping stone to bigger and better things. Now stars of the silver screen are gravitating toward smaller LED screens. Hollywood heavy-weights and Oscar winners Ron Howard and Brian Grazer are backing New Form Digital which is partnering with famous YouTubers to produce shortfilms for YouTube. New Form Digital will provide funding, as well as help with distribution and promotion.
The partnership will produce 14 short films from 14 different YouTubers including Joey Graceffa (3.6 million subscribers), Joe “MysteryGuitarMan” Penna (2.8 million), Sawyer Hartmam (1.7 million), Meghan “Strawburry17” Camarena (740K), Tony “BlackBoxTV” Valenzuela (610K) and 5SecondFilms (380K).
“Our New Form Incubator partners represent not only some of the most successful channels on YouTube, but also a new breed of filmmaker for a new generation.” said chief creative officer of New Form Digital Kathleen Grace in a statement.
The project has a reported $5 million yearly budget. This partnership along with YouTube’s own efforts to fund premium content on their site signal a new wave of YouTube exclusive content coming to the streaming service in the near future. Sources say that YouTube is looking to fund shorter content than traditional television and will help with marketing.
What Does This Mean for Your Business?
The bad news: production values on YouTube videos will continue to go up. It will become increasingly difficult for low-budget productions to compete with the well funded videos.
The good news: the technological playing field has never been more even. Full HD video recorders and video editing software are more affordable than ever. Smart phones are a viable option for both recording and editing footage.
PewDiePie proves, however, that production values are not everything. Many of the most subscribed channels have an amateurish or hobbyist feel. The influx of slick videos is unlikely to change this, but YouTube is likely to promote the well-produced videos to encourage more premium content to move to YouTube.
If you are producing YouTube videos for your company, be ready to step up your game. The already crowded streamosphere is likely to get even more competitive.