The most recent issue of Adweek (http://www.adweek.com/news/television/meet-12-biggest-kids-stars-youtube-156180, March 10-16, 2014) provides a very nice “slice of life” with regard to what we call Channel 2. What is Channel 2? Well, it is the name we (Curiosity) have given to the new broadcast channel environment that is second nature to kids, tweens and teens. It is the digital broadcast world that is always on, always accessible, and offering choices that they desire. What is this? It’s not really a surprise if you have or know a kid, tween or teen. If they are not watching traditional/cable television (two and a half hours a day on average for kids 8+) they are probably on their second channel system: YouTube.
What is a surprise is that to many of today’s kids, this “second channel” with its unique YouTube channels, stars and celebrities are well known to them and almost invisible to adult audiences. How many of you are familiar with Kid President, Tobuscus, Cimorelli or Lia Marie Johnson?
Cimorelli, six sisters ages 13-22, are an a cappella singing group, with a number of homemade videos about their lives, their likes and music videos. They have 2.5 million subscribers, with some videos receiving more than 88 million views (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uM7nlIsBLoc). Lia Marie Johnson, who makes “skit” videos, has more than 700,000 subscribers racking up more than 39 million views (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=22ObUJOp6ws).
Tobuscus, a favorite at our house with my 12 year old, has created a YouTube network of unique videos that really appeal to this younger audience, and he now makes a living at making branded, on product-specific parody and humor-based videos. He has more than 400 videos in his channel, and more than 5.5 million subscribers with almost a billion views. Tobuscus’ “Trapped in a Hot Pockets Commercial” video has more than 3.6 million views (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ibfbq1kdF2M) and pure entertainment videos, the “Viral Song” (one of my favorites: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzKFbUxYJys) has almost 10 million views.
AwesomenessTV is also a new concept within Channel 2. An aggregator of content, AwesomenessTV, developed in 2012, has created a YouTube network/channel that now includes more than 86,000 kid-created programs and individual channels (DreamWorks bought AwesomenessTV last year for $33 million: http://www.youtube.com/user/AwesomenessTV).
If you are involved in youth advertising or marketing, and especially if your brand appeals to youth, tween and teen audiences, be sure to pay attention to today’s “second channel.” That is where your consumers and customers are spending a large portion of their time. Since many of these shows are made by youth entertainers themselves (or close in age), they offer a wonderful opportunity to gain a better understanding of youth likes, dislikes, humor styles and engagement techniques. From a youth marketing perspective, learning can evolve into marketing opportunities from product placement (i.e. Tobuscus–Hot Pockets) to sponsorships and advertising within these targeted networks.