Have you heard of the job “YouTuber?” Although it may sound unfamiliar to some people, YouTubers are one of the most influential figures on the Internet today. YouTubers refer to those who regularly upload videos on their YouTube channel and get millions of views. These people are personal broadcasting producers who often earn most of their income through making and uploading videos. YouTubers are expanding their boundaries from simply making videos to being actual celebrities on-line. The YouTuber phenomenon was first settled in other countries such as the US and recently, it seems to have arrived in Korea as well. The Sungkyun Times (SKT) will discover this newly-emerged job that is fascinating millions of viewers with creative ideas in making videos.
Introducing Top YouTubers
PewDiePie is a Swedish YouTuber who is known for making videos of game commentaries. He usually films his own reactions while playing action or horror games. Some of his popular videos are the commentaries on the game “Happy Wheels” and “Flappy Bird.” The main factor of his popularity is his funny and often exaggerated reactions that allow the viewers to enjoy the game even more. However, many people also criticize his excessive use of swear words and abusive expressions that might negatively affect young viewers. He first started uploading his videos in 2010 and started his vlog channel in 2011. Around 32 million people are subscribing to his channel and his channel ranks first in terms of the number of subscribers among all YouTube channels, beating out the channels of Rihanna, One Direction, and Katy Perry.
PrankvsPrank is a YouTuber couple who gained popularity by uploading the videos of their couple prank wars. The couple, Jesse and Jeana first uploaded a prank video in 2009 and ranked a series of videos t o pay back to each other’s pranks. Their most popular videos include “Girlfriend Caught Cheating Prank,” “Hot Pepper Extract Prank” and “Boyfriend Caught Cheating Prank.” Their provocative and sometimes risky prank ideas greatly fascinated a lot of viewers. Around six million people are subscribing to their channel. However, the prank war caused some fights and conflicts in their relationship on the way. As a result, new uploads on this channel have been infrequent in recent months. Instead, this couple has been uploading their daily vlogs in their vlog channel, “BFvsGF.” Their vlog channel in return, gained more views than their original prank channel. PrankvsPrank is also a YouTuber who has a large-sized fandom all over the world known as “PVP” or “Dope Fresh Nation.”
The Fine brothers are YouTubers who gained popularity through their successful reaction video series. Their reaction videos are made by filming the reactions of a certain group of people such as teens, kids and elders from interviews on a wide variety of topics. Viral videos on the Internet usually become the subject to their videos. The series include “Kids React,” “Teens React,” “YouTubers React” and “Elders React.” The viewers can come across diverse opinions on a subject and watch how people react differently on the same issue. The Fine brothers do not appear in the video and they simply show a video to the interviewees and pose questions. Therefore, their videos are more focused on the opinions of the general public, rather than those of their own. To many Koreans, the Fine Brothers became known for their video of “YouTubers React to K-Pop.” Around ten million people are subscribing to their channel.
Earning Money on YouTube
To many people, becoming famous and thereby earning money on YouTube have become a new American Dream. In fact, many successful YouTubers, including those previously mentioned, earn most of their income by the profits created by their videos. Many YouTubers can turn their video views into profits by going through some steps. First, they have to create a Google AdSense account that is in line with their YouTube channel. Once the number of views exceeds a certain point, YouTube gives the creator an option to create profits. With the connection to Google AdSense, the creators get access to the advertisers who would bid on the ad period of the videos. After inserting the ads into the videos, the creators get paid each time the viewer clicks on the ad. YouTube gets 45% of the whole profits made and the rest is owned by the creator. Not only that, some YouTubers sign brand deals, in which they actually create a promotion video of the products in collaboration with the company. However, experts warn that people should not be so easily fooled by the monetization of YouTube videos. In order to make a video profitable, it requires a lot of time and effort in producing quality videos that would attract a lot of steady viewers.
YouTube FanFest is a festival officially hosted by YouTube for YouTubers and fans. It is more of a YouTuber-fan based festival where fans can meet famous YouTube stars all around the world. This year, YouTube FanFest was held in five countries: Japan, Korea, Singapore, Australia and India. YouTube FanFest Korea was held at Hongik Art Center on September 26, and famous YouTubers such as the Great Library, Ssin, YangDDing and Sungha Jung participated.
The growing popularity has also made YouTubers to make “vlog” videos along with their original video contents. “Vlog” is a combination of the word “video” and “blog,” and is used both as a verb and a noun. Vlog refers to a type of video which broadcasts daily lives of YouTubers. The content of vlog is limitless from a walk in the morning to choosing a lunch menu. While most videos on YouTube have certain topics or themes to the video, vlogging videos often do not have any particular topic the video is under; rather, the life of YouTuber itself is the content of the video. That vlog videos which are nothing more than just clips of one’s daily life have thousands of views shows how much of a star many YouTubers have become.
Growing YouTubers in Korea
Korean YouTube users have also started to follow the paths of successful YouTubers overseas. Although they are still small in size and influence, they are clearly broadening their boundaries in Korean Internet community.
As you can notice from the chart, the biggest difference that Korean YouTube has is the dominance of mega entertainment companies and pop-stars. Individual YouTubers are not well-recognized by the general viewers yet. The fact that most Korean viewers go on YouTube to see their adored stars perform on stage may contribute to the dominance of huge entertainment companies.
Despite certain difficulties, there are several Korean YouTubers who are receiving more and more views every day and making themselves known to YouTube viewers.
-The Great Library
“The Great Library” is one of the most well-known YouTubers in Korea. He first started his broadcasting career through Afreeca TV which is a video streaming service that lets people to broadcast themselves on-line. He then started uploading the recorded videos to his YouTube channel. His popular videos are the game commentaries done on various types of videos ranging from action games such as “GTA 5” and “Call of Duty” to simulation games such as “Sims 3” and “Surgeon Simulator.” Like other gaming YouTubers, his witty words and hilarious reactions drew a lot of viewers. Currently, he has around 873,000 subscribers and the total views on his channel hit 200 million.
“Ssin” is a Korean YouTuber who uploads make-up tutorial videos. Unlike other beauty YouTubers, her make-up tutorial videos contain a lot of jokes, rather than just giving make-up tips. Her expressions are very straightforward and rough that rather help the viewers to easily understand and relate themselves to her. She does copy make-ups of famous figures such as the movie Frozen’s Elsa and the singer G-Dragon, and also makes review videos on cosmetic products. She currently has about 230,000 subscribers and also has signed a lot of brand deals with cosmetic companies such as Dr. Jart and Laneige.
-Eat Your Kimchi
“Eat Your Kimchi” is a YouTube channel run by the YouTubers named Simon and Martina Stawski. It is one of the oldest YouTube channels in Korea, since they first started uploading videos in 2008. This Canadian couple living in Korea shares most of their Korean life in their videos including K-pop, Korean food and traveling. They became widely known mainly due to their review videos on K-pop music videos such as Psy’s Gangnam Style and Bigbang’s Fantastic Baby. They currently have about 619,000 subscribers and get steady views from many K-pop fans.
Like the YouTubers in other parts of the world, Korean YouTubers have also found ways to turn their videos into profits. It seems that Korean companies are beginning to recognize the influential power of YouTubers on the Internet. Some successful Korean YouTubers have signed brand deals with companies that best fit the audience of their channels. The Great Library, for example, has created promotion videos in collaboration with G market, Chevrolet, Sneakers and many more.
These newly emerged figures on YouTube should no longer be seen as amateur broadcasters on the Internet. Instead, they have grown to become competent individual broadcasting producers who produce high-quality videos that attract a large audience which even exceeds the popularity of pop-stars from time to time. We should recognize this new phenomenon as a changing trend in our media culture and keep an eye on the contents created by YouTubers. If you dream to become a famous star, why don’t you start making your own videos and putting them on YouTube? The kind of popularity gained by YouTubers is something that today’s Internet world has endowed us, which may be the most accessible, but the strongest power to be achieved by an individual. With enough dedication and originality in ideas, anyone can become the next top YouTuber.
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