US TV networks court YouTube crowd in quest for digital viewers

27 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Nickelodean is the latest TV network to go after YouTube stars to court digital viewers.

ANAHEIM, California (Reuters) – For the first time, cable TV network Nickelodeon staged a casting call at VidCon, a convention that draws stars of YouTube and social media like Vine, Instagram and Snapchat and their passionate followers. YouTube stars include comedians, beauty gurus, product reviewers, gamers, musicians and fitness buffs who post videos of themselves, often looking directly into the camera.

YouTube artists normally include funnymen, attractiveness professionals, solution or service observers, video gamers, player’s and body builders who exactly blog post video clips of their own selves, often looking into the video camera. It is not certain that the shorter format and free-wheeling style of YouTube will translate to TV. “It’s a challenge for all of us,” said Albie Hecht, executive vice president of HLN, a network designed for the “social media generation.” “Television is a very different means of communication.” The appeal for networks is clear. Google-owned YouTube says its reaches more people in the United States than any cable network among ages 18 to 49, the group most coveted by advertisers. Nielsen data show traditional TV viewing for 12- to 17-year-olds declined to about 18 hours per week in the first quarter of 2015 from 21 hours a year earlier.

CBS Corp’s digital unit talked to Internet personalities at VidCon about potential partnerships, said Jim Lanzone, president of CBS Interactive, which operates websites such as, CNET and GameSpot. “I don’t see this as either/or,” Lanzone said of broadcast programming and YouTube videos. “It’s different content, and both can co-exist.” Popular YouTube comedian Grace Helbig hosted eight episodes of a talk show this year on the E! network, part of Comcast Corp’s NBCUniversal.

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