We’ve been talking about a new breed of superstar for some time now. Whether it’s comedians pulling pranks on an unsuspecting public for Vine, or singer-songwriters posting their material to YouTube, it’s a fact that young creatives have more platforms than ever on which to gain a following. The issue with these channels, though, is that they can be something of a one-way street, with the creator talking to their consumers.
Victorious is a new app with a difference; it aims to create genuine, two way conversations between these rising stars and their hordes of loyal followers. High profile YouTubers including Michelle Phan and Boyce Avenue are already on board. Another part of the Victorious mission is to give creators a greater degree of control over their own earning potential, in the wake of a number of complaints about YouTube’s current business models which even led to Yahoo trying to jump in and poach some of its rival’s talent.
“These individual personalities have grown into bona fide media brands,” says chief creative officer Bing Chen, formerly head of global creator development at YouTube. “Most of these people have enormous audiences, but those audiences are fragmented.” Chen left YouTube in May to join Victorious, which will be exploring monetisation through ads, subscriptions, and in-app purchases. “The creators are essentially renting their audiences on other platforms… We’re much more the technology engine facilitating the experience.”
CEO Sam Rogoway is keen to stress that Victorious isn’t an “either/or” app, but rather “complementary to other social media platforms… YouTube, Twitter, Instagram – they’re amazing ways for audiences to become fans and discover content, but it’s more of a broadcast-consumption relationship. It’s great to aggregate audiences on another platform, but you’re renting that platform.”
There’s that word again; renting. And this certainly seems to be the USP of Victorious; that it offers young stars full ownership of their brand, content and fans. Each content creator has their own personalised ecosystem within Victorious, the style and appearance of which is entirely down to them.
Beauty vlogger Michelle Phan is often the go-to name when you want an example of a YouTuber done good, and she couldn’t be more excited about her new online home. “Partnering with Victorious presents an incredible opportunity to broaden my capabilities in the mobile space,” she recently stated. “Through this exciting new hub, I now have the ability to create a destination for my YouTube, Ipsy, FAWN and Em followers where they can share, learn, and celebrate within the community while empowering each other. It’s a new age of experience.”