Vlogs vs. Docs

Vlogging is a deeply personal, informal way of connecting with large audiences. At Sheffield Doc Fest 2016’s ‘Vlogs Vs. Docs’ panel, Jolyon Rubinstein from ‘The Revolution will be Televised’ said Youtubers connect with their audiences ‘in a way that alludes commissioners’.

The under 25 audiences connects with this content because they see the people who produce them to be ‘just like them’. Their honesty is the source of their power and watching their videos becomes a part of their subscribers everyday lives.

Watching television is a laid back form of consumption whereas vloggers are able to actively engage with their community and take audience feedback on board much quicker, making vlogging much more of a two way connection. This two way connection is likely to be one of the reasons the under 25s engage with vloggers so much.

Another way in which television and vlogs are different is the level of regulation. Only recently, (as of August 2015), did the ASA implement regulations in the UK regarding product placement and branded content for Vlogs. These regulations do not stipulate that vloggers can’t enter into a commercial relationship with a brand in the UK. They do however state that if a Youtuber is including paid product placement in a video they must disclaim it. Amazingly though this is still not the case in the States, I worry about the effect these ‘advertorials’ and product placements are having on the very young youtube audience who engage with and idolise these vloggers as they might not realise the youtubers are being paid to say they love the products they are endorsing.

Companies have to deal with tough restrictions when it comes to most advertising platforms so it is no surprise we’re seeing a rise in the number of companies reaching out to popular Youtubers and taking advantage of the unregulated online space.

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However, a vast majority of vloggers are very young. Fully understanding and complying with the rules and regulations is a big responsibility and it can have considerable repercussions. Vlogger, Jonathan Joly  advised bloggers to bear in mind that ‘The internet doesn’t forget.’ and that you have to be careful about which companies you align yourself with.

Short Sighted: Recognition – new Emmy awards.

“Our industry is aggressively, quickly, and creatively evolving the various ways episodic stories are told, Our Board of Governors felt that this expansion of short-form categories begins the process of ensuring that Emmy-worthy creativity will be rewarded, irrespective of format or platform.”  Bruce Rosenblum, Television Academy Chairman and CEO

Short form content on the web has never been recognised by the Television Academy but this year, things are set to change. The Primetime Emmy Awards have expanded their short form categories to further acknowledge the dramatic growth of the work by people in the creation of short form content.  They categorise short-form programmes to have episodes that are 15 minutes or less and the new categories cover a variety of genres including comedy/drama, animation, variety and nonfiction/reality. There is also a new award for Outstanding Actor/Actress in a short form series. 

“These category changes reflect the broader opportunities that emerging networks and distribution platforms … are seizing in choosing innovative formats that enable our television community to share stories in novel and entertaining ways,” Rosenblum said.

Although the award will not be presented during the telecast in September (it will be given a week earlier at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards) it is still a major coup for the short form.  They will be peer-voted awards which allow Youtubers and Internet shows to be seen as professional, legitimate forms of entertainment for all. There are already awards recognising the work in this area such as the Webbys and the Streamys (both open to public voting) but the Emmys inclusion of this category is a real signifier of the changing landscape of media. Youtube stars such as Tyler Oakley are already expanding into television and Netflix original series. Youtubers are becoming as important, arguably more important, than traditional stars and this recognition has a big impact because it means the Academy is actively interested in representing changes in the media landscape. Creator driven short form content is a major force because of its accessibility for young audiences.  

“While we like to say awards don’t matter or that we think our fans are the real award, this kind of external, institutionalized recognition always makes you proud and a little more ambitious. I think this will help people start to understand what makes a good short form series and what excellent talent looks like.”Kathleen Grace, Chief Creative Officer at New Form Digital



References: 

http://www.emmys.com/news/press-releases/television-academy-expands-short-form-categories-and-increases-directing-and

http://www.wetheunicorns.com/news/youtube-emmys-awards-pewdiepie/

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/new-emmy-rules-open-categories-872055

Short Sighted: Youtube Red

In October 2015, Felix Kjellberg (known online as Pew Die Pie) was named by Forbes as the top earning YouTube star earning $12 million last year. He has now teamed up with the creators of the Walking Dead series to produce his own YouTube show, Scare Pew Die Pie!  As part of the new YouTube Red, YouTube’s attempt to compete with Netflix and Amazon there is set to be more of this YouTube Escapism content being produced.  Audiences tend to indulge in a different form of entertainment on YouTube,  with lighthearted comedic content which focuses on the self made ‘stars’.

The premise of the ‘show’ is putting the well known vlogger in ‘scary’ situations and play pranks on him, not dissimilar to the horror games he gained recognition for playing. This kind of content goes against the trend of TV as the new cinema and extends on the idea of what the YouTube stars already do, but with higher production values.

YouTube Red members will have access to full original series and movies as well as behind the scenes added extras. Exclusive Youtube Red content includes:

  • Sing It!: a scripted satirical comedy focusing on reality singing contests and their popularity.
  • Untitled Joey Graceffa project: A reality adventure series bringing together popular YouTubers for murder mystery style activities.
  • Untitled CollegeHumor project: Written by and starring the cast of CollegeHumor, looking Internet culture.
  • I Am Tobuscus: by Toby Turner: A series following a self-involved YouTube creator pursuing bigger stardom.


The trend in their content seems to be a reliance on their Youtube Stars as a center point and lighthearted content that is generally no longer than 20 minutes. Whether or not this kind of content is ‘quality’ or not is debatable but it certainly provides a wider variety of content for audiences to indulge in.