Awesomeness TV, the YouTube channel for teens and tweens that launched last week, aims to cash in on what founder Brian Robbins describes as the short-attention-span generation.
Robbins is a former child actor turned filmmaker and producer, who specializes in teen and tween entertainment. He got the idea for the online video network from watching his two sons, who don’t watch much TV and have to be coaxed into going to the movies, he says in an interview with the LA Times. Robbins believes that if other kids are like his sons, who have grown up watching short-form videos on YouTube, they crave brevity in their entertainment.
"The short attention span is what I'm talking about,” he says. “That's why I'm really excited about this space…I like making stuff that's four and six minutes long. Who says something needs to be 22 minutes long or 48 minutes long? That's why YouTube really works for short-attention-span theater."
Awesomeness TV, which is part of YouTube’s 100 original content channels initiative, has more than 15 shows currently in production covering such genres as game shows, talk shows, dramas, variety shows, sketch comedies and sports programs.
“Our programming philosophy is we want to make stuff for our audience that isn't on anywhere else. Because everything's short-form, we can try a lot," Robbins said. "Nickelodeon and Disney, they do a certain thing and they do it really well. We're not trying to go in their lane."
Former MTV producer Joe Davola, Robbins’ partner in the 15-person production company, believes history might be repeating itself with the launch of Awesomeness TV: “When Brian told me about this channel, it reminded me of the early days of MTV, because it was maverick -- it was brand new, it was something the young people were getting involved with," he said. "It felt like this was the beginning of the next generation of what's happening in media."
That being said, Awesomeness TV has the challenge of launching on a limited budget with no advertising to spread awareness. As the LA Times story points out, an entire’s year’s worth of programming for the video network -- with 120 original episodes -- will cost less than the budget for the TV pilot for “Smallville,” one of Robbins’ TV ventures.