Many of today’s YouTube stars have such massive audiences and influence that they’re able to make a living off of creating videos for the platform, largely by splitting ad revenue with YouTube and partnering with brands that want access to their fans.
But for some YouTubers, having a channel to call their own isn’t enough, so they leverage their online success to try and break into the TV and film industries. For example, last year popular YouTube star Grace Helbig scored her own late-night talk show with E! News, while YouTube personality Ed Bassmaster recently landed his own show on CMT.
Yet for some vloggers, having a successful channel and fan base on YouTube isn’t simply a launch pad for larger career aspirations, but is in fact a marker of success in and of itself. At C2 Montreal, three YouTubers on a panel called ‘YouTube Creators: The New Media?’ discussed the different reasons why the video sharing site is currently their platform of choice and why they don’t foresee themselves jumping into more traditional forms of media like TV.
Rachel Cooper, a beauty vlogger whose YouTube channel RachhLoves has nearly one million subscribers and receives about 3.5 million views per month, started making her videos seven years ago “purely for fun” while working as a marketer at a CPG company. She’s now turned her YouTube gig into a full-time job, working with brands including Olay and CoverGirl. While she said she ultimately doesn’t know where her success will take her since “the right opportunity can come along at any point,” she did say that YouTube is the endgame for her in the sense that she isn’t looking to break into television.
That’s partly because she likes the authenticity that comes along with having a YouTube show since it allows her to interact with her fans on a deeper level. “My audience has seen me from getting engaged to getting married to having my two kids, and they’ve kind of walked through life with me essentially,” she said.
PL Cloutier, a Canadian vlogger whose French-language channel has garnered more than 180,000 subscribers over the past two years, has worked with brands including McDonald’s and Swiss Airlines since starting his show. Despite having a background in television, Cloutier said he actually prefers the personalization and scrappiness that come along with having his own YouTube show.
He said that he sometime piles up books to put his camera on if he doesn’t have his tripod on hand and uses Home Depot lights as lighting for his videos, but said that even if he had “a million dollars” to produce his content, he’d still want to do things the same way.
“I want it to be extremely personal,” he said. “I want nothing between me and the viewers. Since I’m from TV, I’ve seen the other way around, which is a full team. To me, it makes no sense to surround myself with a huge camera crew,” he said.
Co-president of CJ Creative Jocelyn Mercer also has a background in television, although her experience is on the production side of the business. She’s now part of the two-person production team behind ‘How To Cake It with Yolanda Gampp,’ a Webby Award winning YouTube channel that in just over one year has garnered more than 1.6 million subscribers.
“We’re definitely not in YouTube to get back to television at all,” she said. “I don’t want to say YouTube is the endgame because I think everyone up here, we’re all building digital brands. And YouTube happens to be kind of our mother ship, for lack of a better term, because that’s really where most of us make the bulk of our money. But, you know, there’s so many different platforms for us.”