It is well known that YouTube is one of the most daily visited websites on the internet. The site racks up an average of 30 million visits and 5 billion videos are watched in a 24 hour period worldwide. Here at YouNeek Productions we are going to explore whether YouTube is dominated by males in both the role of the producer and in terms of the audience?
Which conventions and techniques do they use in order to be so successful?
Join YouNeek Productions as we delve deeper into the genre of short internet videos where we look at how YouTubers such as KSI, Zoella, TheSyndicateProject, Joe Weller and AshleyMarieeGaming give us evidence from a range of areas as to whether there is a gender dominance within YouTube. We have chosen this genre as an area of study to explore how both male and female YouTubers use cinematography, editing and narrative manipulation to make their content appealing to their target audience. How can YouNeek Productions, a video production company, be a helping hand within this platform?
How the men do it.
The genre that has shown the biggest growth over recent years is gaming. This is thanks to the huge amount of funding from sponsors and an increased audience for E-Sports meaning the industry had an estimated Net-worth of $91.5Bn in 2015 and it is believed to grow to $118Bn by 2018. Let’s kick it off with one of YouTube’s stars: Olajide Olatunji or ‘JJ’ who uses the pseudonym ‘KSI‘ online. KSI ranks as the 4th biggest gaming YouTuber and made his fame on the back of his tongue and cheek sense of humor and gameplay commentary of the popular EA Sports console game FIFA. Since JJ started out on YouTube in 2008, he has developed an impressive following of over 17 million subscribers and acquired a monumental two billion video views. In a July 2015 Variety published an article which ranked KSI as the most influential social media personality among teen audiences, beating even the most famous celebrities such as Taylor Swift and his fellow top gaming YouTuber, PewDiePie. More recently though, KSI expanded his channel content to include real-life challenges and pranks as well as releasing an EP and various other music projects. This is quickly looking to become JJ’s new pathway after taking a break from YouTube. In addition to JJ, we can look at the career of another British male gamer: Tom Cassell who has a channel known as The Syndicate Project.
Cassell’s channel currently has 10,036,916 subscribers and over 2,001,947,193 video views, placing him in the top 100 subscribed channels on the site. Cassell’s content is largely similar to JJ’s in terms of genre, however Cassell’s main channel content is purely gaming but on top of this he has a Twitch account in which he uses regularly to stream. Tom used YouTube as a platform to expand his career and build a persona for himself. Such a large success has led to him making a second channel that has a great balance of raw content through daily vlog posts which enables his audience to feel as if the barrier between viewer and producer has been broken down. On this channel Tom often uses a hand-held camera which gives a high angle, close up shot rather than the professional looking shot we get from a mounted camera he uses in his gaming videos. By doing this the audience feel as if they’re being directly addressed and providing a technique which is very useful in building a fan-base and making fans feel welcomed.
Collectively, we have found similar techniques used by both male creators in order to self-promote their image and increase their ever-growing dominance on the video platform. For example, both gamers use borders around their videos which often contains their ‘face cam’ and links to their Twitter and Instagram accounts. The purpose of the border is to make their videos welcoming which complies to Jenkin’s theory of ‘convergence culture’ which states how an audience are no longer just consumers of media and have now become users because they download, upload and share blogs ultimately interact with the ever-growing world of video. This is further implementing how studied these channels are becoming in the theoretical side of media and video production to benefit their careers. Both males act as ‘Opinion Leaders’ by giving us their own views and opinions on the game which in turn places the audience in the position of ‘The Influenced’ as they will look up to the YouTuber’s thoughts.
What about us women?
Don’t take us the wrong way, YouTube isn’t just a male ran game. Let us take a look at the videos and the popularity of female gaming creators across the platform. Firstly, we should focus on the consumers and the techniques used by the top females on the site in order to attract their target audience who typically seem to be females themselves from a D-C1 demographic, aged from around 13-17 years old. The audience of female YouTubers is not surprisingly of a lower age than the intended audience of male YouTubers. The reason for this is because teenage girls tend to take up gaming at an earlier age than males (if at all) and then typically grow out of it due to social pressure from peers. As males do not come under this social pressure until a later age it could be argued that this is one of the reasons why males continue to game and watch gaming until a later age. Our first choice of female YouTuber to mention is Ashley Mariee Surcombe, a 21 year old from Cyprus. Ashley made her name from a channel by the name of AshleyMarieeGaming on which she primarily put out gaming videos on Minecraft, 1-1 sit down interviews and vlogs. Ashley’s channel has around 662,714 subscribers and a total of 1875 videos. The gaming videos Ashley creates are very similar to that of the males mentioned before as she also films her gameplay using a capture card device and predominantly placing a camera on a tripod in order to obtain a still, eye level, close up shot. Are you starting to see a pattern here? Most of the popular content creators today have tapped into the formula that has proven most effective and it has done wonders for their channels.
Games, games, games…
You’re probably thinking: “How boring. All you have spoken about is gamers. What about those of us that aren’t into games? Well, for the next topic we will be comparing two YouTubers who made their fame, not from games, but either comedy skits or reviews. First, Step up Zoe Sugg. Zoe Sugg is a female who created her blog, “Zoella”, in February 2009. By the start of 2010 the blog had accumulated one thousand followers and as of September 2015 would go onto to receive over 540 million visits. The once fashion and lifestyle blog expanded into a YouTube channel in 2009 which moved into the realm of beauty and focused predominantly on ‘day in the life’ vlogs and various makeup tutorials. Though making waves in the beauty industry; she still continued with her fashion theme and didn’t halt on creating shopping hauls and monthly ‘sit down’ videos for her fashion fans. Zoe’s first channel, using the pseudonym Zoella which has reached the heights of over 11 million subscribers and in the active years has topped 1 billion views. Thanks to these successes; Sugg’s part to play in the up and coming world of video and media has been nothing but extraordinary. Trust us, when we say extraordinary, we mean it. In her rise to stardom Zoe has won the 2011 Cosmopolitan Blog Award in the ‘Best Established Beauty Blog’ category and also went on to win the ‘Best Beauty Vlogger’ award the following year. She was later awarded the title of ‘Choice Web Star: Fashion/Beauty’ in the 2014 Teen choice awards whilst adding the “Best British Vlogger” award at the Radio 1 Teen Awards also in 2014. Sugg was proudly listed as one of The Telegraph’s ’40 best beauty bloggers’ in September 2014, and ‘Queen of the Haul’ by British Vogue in November. These awards came as no surprise as Zoella’s continued to rise to the fourth most popular channel in the UK in 2014. To top of all of the accolades she had collected, Zoe added ‘Most Inspirational Women of the Decade’ in technology thanks to Grazia in 2015.
Lastly, let’s have a look at how a male who strays away from the norm of gaming on YouTube does it. Joe Weller, a 21 year old male whose videos range from comedy skits, vlogs, and interviews. Whilst veering away from the popular gaming videos, Joe still draws in millions of viewers and has made a name for himself with a YouTube channel consisting of 302 videos and a respectable 4,606,999 subscribers which proves to be a predominantly male audience. Weller has drawn in a dominantly male audience due to topics within his videos being orientated around football, wrestling, the gym and women; stereotypically being male interests. The young creator also produces on topics he feels strongly towards such as mental health and depression. By doing this, Joe is able not only to let his audience into his own experiences but also help his dominantly young, male audience about the important topics and this we can only praise him for. What we should take from Joe’s statistics and achievements is that it is still possible to bring in millions of subscribers and produce creative content without gaming or a largely supported community such as E-sports.
How have they used this fame?
As we discovered above, Zoella has used her fame in order to make a huge influence on the next generation of online audience members and gain multiple awards but what have the others done with it? JJ, the male gaming YouTuber has used his fame to further his career into not only writing a book, starting a music career and being the owner of a convention but actually going on to make a movie in America with another male YouTuber. Tom Cassell has used to fame to start a business and raise money for charity by running fundraising events on Twitch to raise money for Motor Neurone disease in which he raised £163,629. Lastly, both Ashley and Joe have used their channels as a platform in order to reach millions young audience members on topics such as how to deal with bullying and mental health.
But where does YouNeek Productions come in?
It is not even questionable that the YouTubers we have discussed cannot maintain all of their book tours, social media accounts and regular uploads without help. This is exactly where YouNeek Productions and video editing would come in. A lot of personalities across the YouTube platform have a very busy schedule; meaning they have to endure a lot of events and tasks that keep them busy a lot of the time. This often means a lot of traveling and a time away which may mean that they are not able to edit all of their videos. So, this in turn means most of the high profile YouTubers outsource their editing to external editors once they have recorded the bulk of the raw content they would like to upload. Most editors will receive a rough draft of the final edit for post production, along with a narrative structure and ideas for them to use in order to fine tune the video, add graphics and perform processes such as colour grading.
Along with managers, PR teams and security, editors are key to helping YouTubers maintain their fame and continue to grow by allowing them to keep a constant schedule of uploads when they can’t always edit their own videos. There is even YouTuber groups that have designated editors such as Team 10 which consists of the Paul brothers and friends and often FAZE clan will outsource editing for some videos if they’re going through a busy period of streaming or competitive gaming.
The creators who are using YouTube as the medium in order to reach their audience have realised how important it is to create professional looking content to put on their channel and how eventually video is and will continue to become the most effective form of marketing. Digital marketing is proven to be the most effective way of selling yourself or your product quickly and effectively in this fast paced and ever changing world of media. Why not take our advice about video production, take a look at our work and visit us at YouNeek Productions where we’ll help you from start to finish using our developed skills and knowledge of the world of video.
Catch up with what else we’ve decided to write about in some of our other blogs.
By Joe Hassett, YouNeek Productions.