Making money from Sexism, misogyny and violence
YouTubers KSI and Logan Paul boxing at Manchester Arena on Aug 25th 2018
KSI and Logan Paul are two of the world's most successful YouTube entrepreneurs. If you are under 25 however, you probably have no idea who they are, so here's a quick overview.
KSI started out filming himself playing video games and commentating on them, Logan Paul started on Vine and mainly does what can (very loosely) be called "comedy" posts. They have tens of millions of followers on YouTube, (18 million each) make millions of dollars from the views of their videos and selling "merch", and I would go as far to say that they and their ilk are the new face of modern entertainment and celebrity - particularly for the young and very young. On the weekend they fought each other in a boxing match they set-up, after much public "beef", in front of a sell-out crowd of 15,000 people in Manchester Arena, they sold over 800,000 pay per view tickets at £7.50 each, and have had tens of millions of views. So, who are these "entertainers" that our children adore, are they good role models and how will their massive popularity effect the media landscape and in particular Television?
YouTube viewership often dwarfs traditional TV numbers and is set to continue:
KSI had his first fight in February (against another YouTuber) and I wrote a post about it that pointed out that the viewership of that fight blew the rugby Six Nations rugby viewership (Europe's premier, International rugby tournament) out of the water.
However, hardly any traditional media seemed to notice it. This time however, all the mainstream press were there, clamouring for interviews and facetime with the YouTubers, from the BBC, to The Independent newspaper, its like they suddenly woke up and realised what's happening - well sort of. I think the news networks have realised its a phenomenon that they need to report on, that its also growing and not going away. And after the weekend I would be very surprised if TV network execs were not hunkering down trying to figure out how to integrate this form of entertainment - somehow - into their programming. The funny thing though is that the traditional news networks covered it like its a boxing match, but that completely missed the point that this was "entertainment" and they missed the two most important issues related to the fight which are;
1) YouTube dominates over TV for the under 25s
2) A lot of its content is harmful to society and in particular our children, and needs to be challenged.
What the weekend proved is that YouTubers can create entertainment formats that eclipse TV in terms of viewership, sideline the Terrestrial stations completely and make the stars tonnes of money. If under 25s will pay to see YouTubers fight each other, then what about other traditional TV formats, what about a game show, what about "YouTubers on ice" YouTube Island" and on and on. This is what is going to happen to entertainment and it will continue to erode into TVs prominence. Its part of the ongoing process of the fragmenting and of media I highlight on my website https://theinfluencestrategist.com/the-future-of-brands-advertising-and-media.
I dont think its "the end" of TV, but TVs prominence will disappear, and companies like the BBC need to get in gear and respond as their audiences become older and die out - literally.
YouTube is damaging our children:
If you haven't watched YouTubers like KSI or Logan Paul then let me explain. A lot of KSIs content is based around making people feel pretty stupid. He was caught in a storm of sexism for being bullying young girls on film back in 2012, he has apologised for this but he and his brother seem to have just moved on to other forms of anti-social behaviour to sell views. For example encouraging their fans to physically harm Logan Paul and his family when they were in London, which they did, hitting Logan's Father in the back of the head at a pre-match conference and chanting "she's a ho" at Logan's girls friend - lovely. You can see all that if you search for his "Pre-match press conference" - i'm not going to link to it as its pretty abhorrent.
And then there is Logan Paul, he's the guy who filmed the young man who had committed suicide in Japan. Again, he's apologised for this but he's spent his life belittling people and making money from it so forgive me if im somewhat dubious of his contrition.
The real problem with YouTube - Bullying:
The real problem is that the behaviour of some YouTube creators is highly antisocial as it gets them views and it gets them notoriety. Like any technology where you make money from views, when there is little regulation, boundaries keep getting pushed to increase views. The problem here is its a kids / teenagers platform. It's like paying the bully at school to tease the ugly kid, it legitimises their bullying behaviour, makes them famous and rich and creates a perfect unvirtuous circle of money and anti-social behaviour.
Our children are the ones who suffer:
And this has significant knock-on effect as Kids and teenagers see this behaviour and it becomes normalised, they look up these superstars and seek to replicate it, and it in turn reinforces bullying, sexism and violent behaviour - could it be one of the reasons why bullying is so endemic in our schools? And one of the worst things is that the parents and teachers don't understand that when their children sit down to watch their favourite gamers this can often be the kind of behaviour that they are viewing.
And all this is happening in-front of ten year olds, the sexist chants, the violence, KSI saying he will F**k Logans girl like a prostitute after he beats him - thats whats going on. This is just one of the reasons why I laugh when people say Virtual Influencers (which part of my consultancy now focuses on making for brands), are "unethical", have you seen how some humans act? I can craft and install ethics into my VI's behaviour language and life story. and ensure that they promote positive messages - see www.virtualinfluencer.agency
But this piece is about YouTubers, and don't get me wrong, there are lots of fantastic people on YouTube with positive messages, and Logan Paul seems to have gone through a life change and be sorry for the things he's done in the past and I hope going forward his fans understand this and don't try and follow his behaviour. For me however, the damage is already done, and without regulation the cycle will continue, and it will continue to give an excuse to any bullies in school to behave the way they do, damage our children and impact society for the worse, and for that, YouTube has a lot to answer for.