Are YouTubers Really Stars? Hollywood Struggles To Acknowledge It

It’s surprising that the media keeps being surprised that YouTube stars are something like...stars. You know, stars, those people who seem to be making too much money entertaining us.  

Felix Kjellberg, better known to those who know him at all as Pew Die Pie, makes at least $4 million a year off his YouTube Web site and has seemingly apologized for it in the past.

“The men and women who have figured out how to make their homemade videos work for them, will probably retire young, and never have to work another day in their lives,” says the Web site,  a site started by some entrepreneur who figured out it was also possible to chronicle newly rich YouTubers and get pretty wealthy, too.  

CBS wanted YouTuber Bethany Mota to make a short appearance in a film called “The Duff,” and according to The New York Times, it was just shocked that 1) she had an agent and 2) she wanted $250,000. Who does she think she is, besides being an 18-year-old with over 7 million subscriber-verified fans who adore her and a verifiable ability to move fashion merchandise?

The whole idea of YouTube celebrity seems to rankle people who, when not opening their checkbooks, are trying desperately to attract the very same YouTube audiences to their traditional TV shows or movies. It doesn't seem too hard to do a "show" from your bedroom. It's a pretty dismissive point of view.

“YouTube stars are not exactly scarce,” said the NYT, in an article that is part cautionary (young YouTubers being exploited by agents and managers) and awestruck (young people are making a lot of money on YouTube).

Adweek reports on the upcoming Smosh movie. Defy Media and AwesomenessTV are teaming with Lionsgate to produce what I think would be the most out-front motion picture--the kind that will be showing at the Cineplex 4000 sometime soon.  Starring Anthony Padilla and Ian Hecox (they are Smosh), it also features other YouTubers, like Grace Helbig and Jenna Marbles among others. (Helbig is also in line for a talk show at E!) 

It could be a horrible movie--the best Smosh episodes are hilarious, the worst make you wonder how they ever got 30 million subscribers. (In that, they're very much like every episode of "Saturday Night Live" since 1975.)

But if it is even reasonably good, the Smosh movie should make TV executives’ heads explode.  As they try desperately to attract the same demographic that populates YouTube, the one thing they’ve weirdly resisted, mostly, was hiring YouTube stars. I’d bet that pretty soon, they might figure out Bethany Mota’s people know the value of their property.

3 comments about "Are YouTubers Really Stars? Hollywood Struggles To Acknowledge It".
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  1. J S from Ideal Living Media, September 19, 2014 at 3:10 p.m.

    I'll just leave this here:

  2. Genesis Toralba from ASU, September 19, 2014 at 3:12 p.m.

    In my opinion, YouTubers are the real stars. Yes some starts in Hollywood started from nothing, but most of them got their way into fame by association. For example, their parents, or other relatives, might have gave them a ticket to star in a movie without actually having to do much work, or even go to acting classes or anything. YouTubers on the other hand, are just themselves, they say what is on their mind and people like them for who they are. Take Jenna Marbles for example, she just makes videos that makes us all laugh because we can relate to stuff that she says. She also takes into account what her subscribers want to see and applies that to her videos. I’ve yet to see a video of a celebrity just interacting with their fans, they usually just call security or wave them off.
    Another very popular YouTuber is Michelle Phan. She makes make-up tutorial videos and she recently also started her own line of makeup and opened her own store. She also started with low quality videos on YouTube and this is how far along she has come since she started doing so.
    I have to say that the real stars are those who no matter what happens, are still able to work hard to make their fans happy, and it looks like YouTubers take the Oscar for this, even though they don’t walk the red carpet, they are usually the ones that are liked the most out of many celebrities.

  3. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, September 19, 2014 at 5:24 p.m.

    But can they take direction ?

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