YouTube is Dying: Where Did the Content Creators Go?

Now I think that we can all agree that on the whole, YouTube is doing pretty well for itself as the exclusive video sharing platform on the internet right now (TikTok does not count). Personally, I don’t see any other platform overtaking YouTube. Unlike other websites that have become obsolete (MySpace, Vine, even Facebook), YouTube offers something special and has been doing well for itself for an incredibly long time. My question is, what about the YouTubers? These are the people putting original content out for others to enjoy, which is what YouTube was created for in the first place. Content creators are dropping like flies off of YouTube and they have been for a long time.

When I say content creators, I am not referring to companies and corporations that make money off of their YouTube content like VEVO or even Crash Course. I am referring to individual people who make videos by themselves in their room. These are the people like Sam O’Nella and Jenna Marbles who just make/made different wacky videos about random topics or makeup gurus sharing their wisdom through the internet. Even Jeffree Star, who has marketed himself in a way that would bring Kris Jenner to tears, started out making clips by himself in his basement. These OG YouTubers are slowly disappearing and there are a few reasons why.

The big reason content creators are done making content is a loss of relevance/dissipation from the public sphere. Until a few minutes ago, you probably forgot that Jenna Marbles ever even existed let alone made good content, but until a few years ago she was a pretty big deal. Jenna just lost momentum. After a while her videos started to get boring and she had obviously run out of ideas, so she just ended up dropping off the map. She still makes content and will appear as a guest on other channels, but it just isn’t as big of a deal anymore. The YouTuber community is trying to combat some of this by collaborating with other well known YouTubers to up their own views or hyping the channels of other YouTubers to show support.

Part of this is loss of viewership. Becoming established as an influential YouTuber is no small feat and it's just gotten harder as the years go by. There are so many established YouTube channels that it can be difficult be a new face and not get discouraged when no one watches your content. People also tend to specialize or pick favorites when it comes to content creators, which decreases viewership even more. When you stick with your same old same old, you are actually costing new YouTubers or less relevant ones viewers because you refuse to expand your horizons. Viewers are an important part of the YouTube community, so we really get to shape the landscape of YouTube content by what we are willing to watch. Basically I’m telling you to go support some YouTubers because those buddies work hard and deserve some views.

I think that there are two communities on YouTube that have been hit a little less hard than others. Those gamers and makeup gurus. I mean, just look at the gamer PewDiePie, who is arguably one of the most influential YouTubers and is currently in a battle for the most subscribers with a company called T-Series. Gamers like NorthernLion have been creating content and doing well for themselves since basically the beginnings of YouTube and continue to do so. Unfortunately, many of these gamers are moving over to the Twitch platform, which is specifically designed for live streaming video games and (so I’ve heard) is a little more creator friendly. Makeup gurus also haven’t really seen a decline, but they also don’t have another platform to move to. I think these two communities are doing better than most because they are naturally conducive to new content. There are constantly more video games and makeup being released, so they can always make new videos. Many makeup YouTubers have recurring videos like “This Year’s Favorites” or “New from KKW Beauty” because there are literally always new products. It's harder for these industries to die out because there is always new content to be made.

Companies are taking over YouTube in more ways than one. They create YouTube channels of their own (like HowCast or VEVO) which can create more content, get content out more quickly, and produce more diverse content than individual YouTubers can just because they have an entire team of people behind their channels. As a result, these channels are often favored over individuals. These companies are competing with each other as well as individuals, which just makes it even harder for the OG YouTubers. Companies are not only making their own videos, they are sponsoring YouTuber content to extend their reach even further. While it might not be in their best interest in the long run, many YouTubers see sponsorship as a good thing because it helps ensure the longevity of their own channel.

Why does it matter? Well… If you’re a YouTuber, it matters a lot. Getting run off your own turf by teams of people who have more resources than you is incredibly frustrating. Think about it like this: You are running an American Ninja Warrior style obstacle course with no rules, you’ve been training for months and have worked really hard and are confident you can win. And then freaking Iron Man shows up in his suit and literally flies through the course. “That's not fair!” you cry, but nobody listens because there are no rules, so he’s not technically cheating. That’s what it is currently like to be a YouTuber right now. If you don’t want your faves to disappear, get on the Tube and support them!

Photo Source: 123456