Homemade fame and fortune – brought to you by YouTube

Bronte Chandler

YouTube is allowing everyday people to build an empire with millions of subscribers and live the life of the rich and famous from the comfort of their own home. 

YouTube-Star
YouTube Hollywood star. Credit: Postitz

Since YouTube was created in 2005 it has been used as a platform for sharing videos between users and a way to advertise for free.

The content of the biggest YouTube channels vary from ‘vlogging’ (video blogging) to tutorials, opinions and reviews.

But now YouTube is being used in conjunction with other social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to produce ‘homemade fame’.

The top earning online stars are making more money than most Hollywood television actors.

The YouTube channel PewDiePie tops the charts and is making $8.47 million annually with the total amount of views on his channel totalling over 11.5 billion.

Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg- the Swedish comedian and producer behind PewDiePie – started his channel in 2010 posting mainly ‘Let’s Play’ commentaries and vlogs and now has over 43 million subscribers.

In six years Felix has become the biggest name on the internet sharing his content with millions of people daily.

His earnings like all big YouTubers is mainly achieved from advertisements and endorsement deals.

Even huge names in the music industry like Justin Bieber began his rise to fame by sharing his amateur videos on YouTube and was picked up by a record company.

Online fame from YouTube and Instagram are becoming more and more common as the audience of these platforms grows daily.

It is estimated that there are one billion users of YouTube, one in three people on the internet.

So why doesn’t everyone jump online and start making millions of dollars? Well for a YouTube account to be eligible to become ‘monetized’ YouTube has put in place certain restrictions (for example you have to have a certain number of subscribers and views on each video).

Making money

The easiest way to make money on your videos is by choosing to ‘monetize with ads’, meaning YouTube will put adds in front of your videos, however advertisers only pay you when the complete add is viewed, not partially.

Advertising and marketing companies are constantly trying to get their products mentioned on a highly subscribed YouTube channel.

PewDiePie’s wide range of coverage on games has created an Oprah effect, boosting sales for titles he plays.

The number of fans, aka subscribers of these internet stars grow rapidly due to the accessibility of the videos.

Subscribers don’t have to spend big bucks on concert or movie tickets, instead they can view their favourite celebrity anytime and anywhere on a number of devices.

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21st century business

By Bronte Chandler

With the popularity of online shopping increasing, Australians are spending more and more money online while businesses are saving big bucks by operating their store on the world wide web. 

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Cartoon of an online business transaction. Credit: 2CC

In this day and age businesses that only exist online are not uncommon – THEY require very little capital, are widely accessible and the owner or employees can work from virtually anywhere, including the comfort of their own home.

In 2015 Australians spent a record $16.6 billion in online sales domestically, which is up 9 percent from 2014.

Online businesses are much more cost effective and reduce long-term costs as they don’t need to pay rent for a shop premises, utility bills and sales staff.

Initially businesses may have to pay a large fee to have their website created and to secure their desired domain name, but most businesses only end up employing a few staff members to look after and maintain their websites and social media accounts.

The internet is saturated with online retail stores, because it is so easy for a new retail business idea to become a reality.

Online business in action

These factors all benefited Larissa Walsh, a 20-year-old entrepreneur from Melbourne, who owns and single handedly runs an online clothing rental boutique, Rent A Dress AU (RAD).

RAD was set up and run only on Instagram for three years but has recently developed a website after the demand and following outgrew a single Instagram account.

RAD now has a website with categories, subcategories and search boxes to make searching through hundreds of pieces of clothing easier.

Each item on RAD is owned by individuals who pay a small fee ($9.95) per item to upload their clothing which can then be rented by anyone anywhere in Australia.

Walsh is the only employee of her business. She manages the website and Instagram account as well as making sure her customers and rentees are satisfied

The business gained major attention in 2013 as it was the first of its kind, with copycats popping up everywhere.

The business model was successful because individuals are highly involved in RAD by renting out their clothes or hiring other people’s clothes.

The major – although unlikely – threat posed to the online business world is the failure of the Internet resulting in no access for customers and no possible sales.

The web provides a wider customer base and products can be sold all over the country and internationally, instead of only to customers who visited the location of the shop front.

With the introduction of online shopping apps and a live chat to have your queries instantly answered, online retailers are making it an easy experience for consumers.

Hashtag election

By Bronte Chandler

After 2008 saw Obama use the media to secure his presidency campaign, the upcoming 2016 US election has saturated social media in order to promote the front runners who aim to be the next President of the United States. 

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Social media and the election. Credit: rgcommunications.

In 2008 Obama’s presidential campaign made history by using the media to promote him to a wider audience and gain the following that elected him the first African-American President of the United States.

He was the first to effectively use social media as a major campaign strategy, something that was new and innovative to the world, unlike today.

It may not sound that innovative now, but when Obama won his candidacy in 2007 the iPhone didn’t even exist.

The 2016 US election is fast approaching, and social media sites are cluttered with promotional propaganda for the November election.

In the ‘olden days’ – aka before social media – presidential campaigns consisted of appearances by the candidate, posters and advertisements and articles of prepared speeches or statements as well as television appearances.

Obama was the first president who understood social media is about relationships and that “an effective social media campaign is based on the psychology of social behaviours not the current technology”.

Although mainstream today, sending out voting reminders on Twitter and interacting with people on Facebook in 2008 was a big deal.

Placing election advertisements on social media is a way of reaching more people with 69% of American adults on social networks, significantly more than the 37% who were in 2008.

Front runners’ social media

It is thought the media is to blame for the rise and success of the Republican Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

Trump has been described as an instant ratings/circulation/clicks gold mine, with videos and articles constantly being posted on forums, social media networks, online news sites and many other media platforms.

Hillary Clinton, a Democratic candidate, has taken to email to ask for help in her campaign from her supporters and to make sure her message was coming through loud and clear on Facebook and Twitter.

The supporters were asked to join a group that will get regular updates from Clinton’s campaign headquarters about what to post on social media.

The use of social media within the election process has been named as ‘the game changer’ to describe its ability in creating a completely new playing field and audience.

Borrell Associates estimate that 9 percent of the campaign budgets (or about $1 billion) has been allocated to media and social media.

Netflix killed the video store

By Bronte Chandler

In 2015 Netflix was released in Australia along with a bunch of other online movie streaming sites and saw the downfall of video shops. 

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Netflix launch. Credit: lifehacker

Netflix is a global provider of streaming movies and television series that began in 1988 as an American DVD-by-mail service.

The company has built its reputation on the business model of flat-fee unlimited rentals without due dates, late fees, shipping and handling fees or per title rental fees.

With 42.5 billion hours of streaming in 2015, Netflix is one of the largest video distribution networks in the world.

It is estimated that Netflix subscribers are avoiding approximately 130 hours of commercials per year, one of the perks of online streaming consumers enjoy.

For a monthly subscription ranging from $8.99 – $11.99, consumers have the convenience of an on-demand streaming program at the tip of their fingers.

The creators of Netflix, Marc Randolph and Reed Hastings, created the service after Hastings fell in debt to a video shop for a DVD that that was several weeks late.

The convenience of the monthly fee for Netflix means subscribers can avoid late fees and shipping costs.

With consumers quickly switching over to the streaming, video shops became one of the only things not benefitting from the service.

The online movie streaming world single handedly helped end the movie rental business by offering on demand shows for consumers to watch when and how they wanted.

Streaming serves took advantage of rapidly evolving mobile technology and constantly improving internet speeds to build their business.

According to a survey from Deloitte, U.S. consumers are more inclined to stream entertainment from the internet rather than tune into a television program.

Movie streaming networks started gaining attention and attracting customers by uploading entire seasons at a time.

Once-a-week programming quickly became a thing of the past and streaming services became partly responsible for the binge watching habits that exist today.

Netflix started competing with television networks for original content and became a more attractive alternative for show runners and script writers because it offered upfront contracts to create an entire season or two, not just pilot episodes.

Netflix first advertised original series was House Of Cards in 2013, with 90 percent of subscribers now viewing original content.

The major success of Netflix saw the creation of copycat services such as Stan, Presto and Quickflix.

Online streaming services’ money is made through the sharing economy, by renting out less product to more people by re-using their content.