by Louis Otero
In a way, I’ve only discovered YouTube in the past six months. Although, I’ve been aware of the website for years now because I haven’t been living under a rock for the past decade. I’m well aware of the viral videos of dogs being cute and grown men getting hit in the balls in new and creative ways, but I wasn’t aware of the scope of the content available on the platform. I know I’m remarkably late to the party here, but this website is insane.
The first YouTube channel I watched with any consistency was, unsurprisingly, a movie review show called Prettymuchit. I watched it every week, but I’ve come to learn that this show was somewhat disconnected from a larger community. From there I moved on to Sourcefed which was a channel that did a bit of everything: talk shows, news updates, and sketches. For the most part it was just a way to kill some time, but Sourcefed helped me discover the industry behind YouTube. Even the fact that there was an industry was a mind blowing revelation.
There is a shocking amount of money to be made from YouTube. Some ‘creators’ can make millions of dollars just by documenting their everyday life or gaming sessions. Naturally, where there is money to be made, there will be companies springing up to take their piece of the pie. This is where YouTube begins to resemble a miniature Hollywood. There are production companies who contract talent to produce their content. There are independent artists who try to make it without the help of larger companies. Sadly, this means that the two industries also experience similar scandals.
Just a few weeks after the sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein surfaced, similar allegations arose against Andy Signore. Signore is the creator of Honest Trailers, a video series you’ve likely seen pop up on your Facebook feed once or twice. He’s also a host and one of the major creative forces behind Screen Junkies, a major movie-centric news and entertainment network on YouTube. I guess even the slightest, most insignificant amount of power is enough to make men, who were probably ignored by women for most their lives, to act like complete monsters.
In this way, it’s pretty shocking just how much YouTube is resembling the movie industry. There are rivalries between channels and creators. There are even entire shows reminiscent of “Extra” or “Entertainment Tonight” dedicated to discussing “YouTube gossip.”
Much like how people in the movie industry claim to hate the system they’ve become a part of, YouTubers all have one common enemy: YouTube. To an extent, you have to kind of feel bad for the video-sharing company. They’ve created this amazing platform that makes thousands of people a ton of money, and they are still criticized at every turn. Sadly, because YouTube is such a new industry, they’re still just figuring it out. They’re experimenting and trying to be as fair as possible, but YouTubers absolutely hate when their platform is experimented on. This is likely because, just like in the movie industry, there’s no real job security in YouTube. All the fame and the money could be gone in the blink of an eye, and then they could be left without a job. So sadly, they all fight to stay relevant. Let’s just hope that YouTube can learn from its mistakes quicker than Hollywood did.