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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Chris Albrecht

@Chrisdon’t you think it’ll make it harder for you indies to get noticed?


I agree. Celebs making use of new media might actually help the rest of us more than hurt us as they attract more viewer attention to new media.

Sure, they also might make it harder for the rest of us to attract investment and sponsorship $$$, but that was going to happen anyway.

Chris Prine

Celebs help increase the legitimacy of new media, and us indies can still get in and have a chance of being noticed.

Jeremy Campbell

We used to view celebrities as the people who only appeared on TV or the move screen, but now that they are moving into the online video space, there is a huge shift from traditional to new media.

The idea here is that content has to go where viewers are, and that is increasingly online.

I believe that there will always be a celebrity allure for viewers, but bottom line is that the remarkable content usually surfaces and bubbles to the top, so there are more opportunities than ever for the smaller creators to build a name and community around their content.

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