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YouTube : Configuring a New Species of Stardom

By Garima Goswami, Darpan, 26 Jan, 2015
  • YouTube : Configuring a New Species of Stardom

Remember the days when YouTube was literally a salmagundi of videos ranging from adorable pets to amateur videos of babies (Charlie bit my finger – again!). Of course it still is, but the growing economics of YouTube has resulted in the traffic to expand in this expoential zone to kick it out of its amteur zone.

The platform has overgrown to station professional videos for celebrity gossip, beauty and style tips, music and dance videos and so much more. The medium allows vloggers (video bloggers) to connect one-to-one with their subscribers and foster a personalized interaction. Moreover, YouTube's synchronization tab with other social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter means there is an infinite reach for countless voices.   

Statistically speaking, the video-sharing platform attracts more than 1 billion unique users visit per month, has over 100 hours of videos uploaded every minute, records over 6 billion hours of video watch time each month and has 80% of the traffic coming from outside the United States of America.

YouTube sensation Lily Singh a.k.a Superwoman with a fan base of over 4.9 million is one such personality emerging from a generation of YouTubers that have engineered videos that are low-budget yet professional and are self-produced, directed, edited and marketed.  

Youtubing has cemented as a career in itself. "I think that I am from a generation that is very entrepreneurial. People understand that creativity is so much more possible with the digital age and I feel that there is a sudden rush because first of all a lot of other people are doing it and it's kind of like a voice, we live in a very expressive generation," Lily Singh explains.

Surviving and growing in the competitive sea of talent, ideas and voices, is vigorously demanding. "The biggest challenge is that it is such a new phenomena that there is no one really to
look back upon and see how did they do it, did they succeed, what happened with them. We are all just kind of guessing our way through this" Superwoman says.

Speaking on monetary terms, with the influx of viewers on YouTube sourcing from 61 countries, thousands of channels are making six figures a year. It is no surprise that advertisers are hoarding these channels. Suddenly, YouTube is seen as changing the consumption patterns of viewers from television. The conglomeration of traditional media in the digital space has created a pool of opportunities, whether that is beauty and style tips or social experiments in your city.

Digital star Shane Dawson with a fan base of over 6 million went on to direct a movie, Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg alias PieDiePew,  a video game commentator with a subscriber list of over 33 million went on to star in two South Park episodes; and Superwoman got an opportunity to release a music album as well as host the music launch event of Dr. Cabbie, a movie produced by Bollywood biggie, Salman Khan.

The demographics are in their favour and the perks are too tempting- appreciation, interaction, fame, money and flexibility. It is not surprising that several of these digital stars have more followers than film celebrities. Not only star faces but also star content is instantly going viral across borders. Millions of subscribers are crowding their way in to YouTube, pumping the number of individuals subscribing daily to the platform three times more than last year.

It certainly is a field to experiment with guaranteeing personalized interaction, but if you are thinking of launching yourself on YouTube, then as corny as it may sound, Superwoman says staying true to your passion is imperative. "If you want to start doing YouTube, you have to do it for a reason you are passionate about. [It should be] something you can talk about because it is so easy to see through somebody who is putting on an act and every YouTuber that I see is unhappy or unsuccessful is because they are putting on an act of something they are not, and [are] talking about things that they don't believe in.”

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