Current YouTube and Vine stars are already megastars on new media platforms, but many are likely to become megastars on traditional platforms within five years. They’re going to demand more attention away from dozens of Hollywood stars, because they will simply offer more value. They likely won’t offer as much in formal, honed acting skills, but will offer far more value in followings and promotion channels that bring the only thing biz Execs truly care about, money. These are some of my first-hand experiences that support this trend:
1: I’m working on a proposal right now for a main cast member in a major cable show and they are intimidated by social media. I don’t blame them, it’s an extremely competitive space. My job is to help this person to promote their web series. So interesting that talent at the top is making a web-series, eh? A smart move to gain ownership over their audience.
2: I just went to the premiere of Expendables 3, there were fewer people there than Nash Grier could get in 48 hours with a couple Tweets. That’s Stallone, Statham, Schwarzenegger, Rousey, Banderas, Snipes, Gibson, Ford, Couture, Crews, Ortiz. Caveat though, Grier wouldn’t command the same press presence… and he wouldn’t need it, he’d render them useless with his own photos and selfies! None of this by the way discredits how amazing the top of Statham’s head is.
3: During my stint working on client 20th Century Fox, Fault in Ours Stars was slated to be minuscule (I didn’t work on the TFIOS title). It did $123MM and cost $12MM to make, was #1 Box Office opening weekend, beating Edge of Tomorrow with TOM CRUISE as the 16th highest grossing title of the year, over 300, Noah, TMNT, Hercules and Monuments Men. Largely because it was written by John Green, YouTuber, co- creator of VidCon. Every teenage girl convinced their moms to take them to see it; there were girls camping out the night before at theaters. Working on Let’s Be Cops, Gone Girl and Kingsman: Secret Service most of our actors had such minuscule social followings that we couldn’t hardly even use them to generate early excitement for the films. Marcus Johns totally could pull of main character Eggsy (Taron Egerton) but also draw insane attention to the film early-on. Taron Egerton currently has… zero followers on Twitter?
4: Now let’s look at the Top Viners on RankZoo. The Hollywood stars there have a fraction of the loops the true Viners have (Accept Josh Peck, he’s killing it). Purpdrank and Lele Pons have a billion loops, each. Harry Styles, 41MM, Jennette McCurdy, 52MM, Ariana Grande, 42MM loops.
5: Disney recently Bought Maker Studios for $500MM. I’m a member/creator in Maker’s network… so technically, I now belong to Disney (But I’m on creating hiatus with a measly 4k Subs). There are rumors flying everywhere about who will make an offer on Fullscreen and StyleHaul; The Collective and Machinima received foot-in-the-door funding already. The companies acquiring won’t be exactly sure what to do with all the talent they are acquiring, but they certainly understand there’s power in it.
6: Most traditional celebrities don’t translate to social influence. While at Crispin Porter + Bogusky, which is a Top 10 in World Creative Agency with fantastically genius minds, I saw two things:
- There were constantly opportunities where the best solution for a creative need was to place it in the hands of an influencer with some guidance. But this didn’t often happen, because it competed with our reason to exist as an agency. In coming years, clients will demand agencies do this. One of the core beliefs that made CP+B wildly successful is that if you build something incredible enough, the distribution won’t matter. People will see it and it will blow up. This worked in the era of Myspace, case in point, Subservient Chicken. There’s too much competition now. I saw too many incredible, scable ideas go virtually unseen with some industry press, a few hundred views, and fade off into someone’s portfolio.
- On a Kobe vs. Messi viral video project, Turkish Airlines gave us immense freedom over distribution, in this case, “viral seeding.” We deployed a barrage of tactics but the insight was clear, the megastar celebrities we commissioned to post performed a fraction as well as the YouTubers we commissioned. The video turned out wildly successful with 137 million views in 6 weeks, the most watched ad on YouTube of all time. Just imagine if our creatives would have gone along with the suggestion to feature YouTubers in the video with Kobe and Messi around the world?
Hollywood actors that don’t or can’t get engaged social audiences just won’t be as profitable or valuable for studios as YouTubers and Viners will be.