Okay, okay I hear you booing. “YouTube, really?” When we have Killing Eve, The Crown, Line of Duty among others on national TV and I get it, British TV is in a good spot at the moment with a number of quality shows running but nevertheless I shall argue my case. YouTube is absolutely thriving and, believe it or not, some of the most popular YouTubers quite easily compete with and may even surpass the viewing figures of some popular TV shows that you may be watching.
And how? Well the future is digital. YouTubes’ unstoppable march for online video dominance continues and a swathe of millennials and Gen-Z watch only YouTube and or generally stream the content they consume and understandably so, online culture is increasingly becoming popular culture and it’s impossible to ignore. We’re seeing the lines between the mainstream celebrity and YouTubers/influencers blur as people like KSI are appearing on Good Morning Britain and others like popular vlogger Joe Sugg starred on Strictly Come Dancing last year, even coming close to winning the whole thing, ultimately finishing in the final four contestants.
Some YouTubers (Zoella, Joe Sugg, Marcus Butler, Emma Blackery) already have published books that are out in popular high street stores and have had brand deals with huge companies, it’s not a case of these people becoming mainstream, they’ve been mainstream for some time now and traditional media has been recognising the fact. And its creators have grown far from the stereotype of young’uns just vlogging their day or recording themselves screaming and being over the top while playing Fifa (though this undeniably has in part helped some YouTubers). Young professional videographers, editors and the personalities themselves are making a living in producing high level content that gets lapped up online, the fairly recent UK YouTube podcast scene is also in a good place, championed by Brian Davis aka ‘The True Geordie’.
This is to say that there is some great content out there for any type of interest that you may have, are you avid football fan? Watch The True Geordie, Copa90 or The Football Republic. Are you an avid gamer? Well you’re spoilt for choice with a tonne of gamers that play everything from Fifa to Call of Duty to any new major game release but you probably already knew that.
Not interested in footy or games but more into fashion, make up and lifestyle videos? You’re covered. Are you more into real life stories and watching peoples day to day lives? No problem.
So you get the idea, there’s something out there for everyone and I don’t think it’s controversial to say the variety online far surpasses the more traditional avenues. And further than this, the UK has some fairly famous online names in the Sidemen, the YouTube collective created by KSI - the seven long time friends creating long form content in the form of contests, challenges, gaming and travel vlogs since 2013. While you have others who focus more on internet commentary/culture or are mainly comedic with the likes of Jaackmate, WillNE, Caspar Lee, Bambino Becky and Niko Omilana.
Mind you, this is only scratching the surface of some popular online genres and there are plenty of other niches out there. The talent out there is not only a great export for the UK but it goes to show that there is something out there for everyone and that online media is just as valuable, just as viewed and arguably quite a bit more boundary pushing and creative than traditional media, or so a YouTubers fans might tell you.... but I’d also agree with that notion.
So on any night of the week if you feel like there’s nothing on the telly and you’re feeling a bit idle, why not check out YouTube? You’ll probably find something you like.