by Graham Pierrepoint
YouTube has become a phenomenon, though hardly overnight. The video-streaming service started out as a simple creation and sharing site for users to share funny videos and clips that were largely consumed on desktop PCs – but since the dawn of the mobile revolution, things have altered somewhat. Further to this, YouTube has become the go-to entertainment platform for Millennials, with home-grown content and chances for anyone, anywhere, to become a star – with the potential to earn big as a part of YouTube’s programs.
It is, however, a platform that has seen some controversy come and go over the past few years. There is a layer of ‘top’ creators who receive the most views and are therefore seen as the most profitable for the site – and some of these have come under fire for various reasons. For one, self-made gamer millionaire Felix ‘PewDiePie’ Kjellberg, who has been admonished for racial slurs and anti-Semitism in just the past year alone – while Kjellberg has apologized profusely for his actions, he has lost out on lucrative contracts with the likes of Disney – and, as part of YouTube’s program Creators for Change, smaller channels have taken the opportunity to express their wish for kinder, more beneficial content to be pushed to the fore.
The Creators for Change program helps to highlight those YouTubers who are looking to make changes with positive content – and among them are Sam Saffold, Tazzy Phe and L-Fresh the Lion – who all hosted short films at the Tribeca TV Festival in New York in recent days. Saffold in particular is keen for smaller voices on the platform to be given the chance to speak up and offer positive messages to a fairly impressionable audience. “It’s disheartening to see those types of streamers earning those types of views,” advises the YouTuber of controversial or negative top earners. Sam’s channel SuperSamStuff courts over 16,000 subscribers (which is relatively small on a massive scale). “There are so many positive YouTubers who don’t get the attention they deserve.”
YouTube has made it easier for browsers to find content they want to watch – and while bigger channels and streamers get prime promotion, smaller channels are beginning to claw their way into the spotlight. YouTubing is now a lucrative career path – and for smaller, more positive channels, the current landscape is arguably providing some controversy.