Will Celebs Ruin Web Video for the Rest of Us?

If this was a US Weekly article, the headline would read “Stars! They’re just like us! They make web shows!” Speaking at a conference yesterday, Greg Johnson, SVP, ECD and head of digital at William Morris Endeavor, told the crowd to expect more celeb-studded content coming down the digital pike. paidContent reports Johnson as saying:

“Historically, there were huge barriers to actors or artists that wanted to form companies and actually create their own content. But with digital distribution and platforms like Facebook for games, video networks for original series—there’s less of a need for huge investments of capital—so these artists can get into production and be profitable very quickly.”

Hollywood poking its head into the world of web video is nothing new. Will Ferrell’s Funny or Die is basically a repository for celebrity viral videos. Ashton Kutcher is behind Blah Girls. And just this week, Heroes star Milo Ventimiglia’s DiVide Pictures partnered with Generate to create branded entertainment targeting young males.

Why does this matter? Well, if you’re an independent creator, it’s going to become even harder to get sponsorship money to finance your projects. As we wrote last month, advertisers want to put money where they know (or hope, at least) audiences will be. Having a celeb associated with your production is one way to do that.

The influx of Hollywood could mean that homegrown “web stars” truly will be like us. No one will know who they are because viewers are too busy watching Ashton Kutcher’s latest series.


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