YouTube is a massive platform that champions the fact that everyone and anyone can use it. You don’t need sponsors or agents to set up a channel. This is one of the reasons that YouTube is so popular, however the fact that there’s so much freedom on YouTube can be both a good thing and a bad thing for the company.
YouTube has to come to terms with that freedom. Big advertisers whose ads play next to videos that feature racist and or disturbing content can and have pulled entire campaigns. For example, one of YouTube’s biggest stars, PewDiePie, came under fire after he engaged in controversial anti-semitic humor, which he then sincerely apologized for. Nevertheless, Disney and YouTube pulled their ties with PewDiePie after the controversial comment.
Robert Kyncl, YouTube’s head of business, knows that YouTube, being a service open to everyone, will be a platform to many content creators that are not a part of the status quo and will make some controversial content, so he is releasing a book titled "StreamPunks: YouTube and the Rebels Remaking Media." The book is authored with Maany Peyvan, speechwriter at Google.
They sat down with The Verge recently to discuss the challenges and the opportunities that they see in the future for YouTube and all of its content creators.
At the beginning of the interview, The Verge asked why they wrote the book. Kyncl responded that it was because of the online video space and the overall entertainment space, because “it's changing so fast [and] it can be confusing, both to consumers, advertisers, agencies, studios, anybody.”
Interested in why they decided to name the book what they did, The Verge then asked why they decided on the "StreamPunks" title. Peyvan said that the term “StreamPunk” is referring to a new class of creators that embrace streaming and online video and creating their own paths while not following the traditional media. He found that there was something rebellious about that, which would entail why they went with the word “punk.”
But with YouTube’s massive number of users, The Verge asks them if YouTube can really be considered outside the mainstream media. Kyncle revealed that he does believe they can. “I think because it’s open, they don’t think of us the same way they think about other destinations. It’s so attainable. You don’t need an agent or a contract with a studio. Our creators tell you about how they accomplish their fame. It’s right there for you to try. There will always be people who try, some who fail and some who succeed in a big way. No matter how big YouTube may get, I don’t think that part will go away.”
However, Kyncl does later admit that there is a lot more money flowing through YouTube’s system, when asked if freedom and DIY attitude is lessening as YouTube is growing and attracting more mainstream advertisers. Peyvan responds that they aren’t victims of their success though and argues for the freedom that YouTube offers. “The fact that anyone can start a channel means there is a healthy source of supply. A lot of the people who have become popular on YouTube in the last few years came from other platforms.”
Kyncl assures us that YouTube looks to support both advertisers and content creators. “It is our job to make sure that the advertisers have confidence in the platform and the creators, and that the creators get paid. We have to make sure those connections happen in the right way. These things evolve, every year. We care about them both. One without the other, is weaker.”
If you would like to read the entire interview, go to theverge.com.