The Internet is a fascinating thing. With it, many new markets have been born.
I used to watch a lot of Yogscast Lewis and Simon (a popular youtube channel). For a time their channel, and many channels around them, grew exponentially as youtube found popularity. Unfortunately for them though, as of late many of these most popular channels have stalled or even begun losing views. I am not entirely certain as for the reasons for this truthfully, though I have my many guesses, but I find it absolutely fascinating to watch.
One of the greatest things about youtube, and the internet in general, is that it is open for nearly everyone to interact with. Anyone can create a youtube video. Anyone can create a blog. Anyone can become famous through them.
When a new market opens, like youtube not long ago, those who properly capitalize on it, such as the Yogscast, have a golden opportunity to rise to prominence. This is, of course, because when a new market opens they typically have relatively little competition. With little competition those who output higher quality content than the average joe have an opportunity to earn the majority of the views as the platform, youtube, matures and expands. This is by all means the easiest time to earn fame on a new market.
Nonetheless, youtube has, at least mostly, finished expansion. With few new viewers bolstering the view counts on the Yogscast channels, the numbers are naturally going to decrease.
One of the interesting things about this situation though is that many others have been inspired by gaming channels like the yogscast to create their own youtube channels. The numbers of total youtube viewers though is stagnant so any major gains upon their parts depletes the viewing rates for other channels. As this market is relatively stable few, if any, of these wanting to channels will ever catch on. Even if they offer higher quality content to the best of their low budget ability there is still so much competition. Besides, naturally folk are at rest. I found the yogscast shortly after their rise to fame and I have never really searched for a new gaming channel, I don’t desire to find one as I’m satisfied with things as they are.
Therefore it rests on the shoulders of those desiring attention to justify their worth to others because even if they are producing high quality content people will not be inclined to care. These content producers must instead make people care.
This is rather humorous on youtube where, though advertising is easily done by just commenting on heavily viewed videos, advertising your own channel can be heavily looked down upon. Perhaps this itself is caused by the number of these advertisers that popular channels get. The end result is, though I don’t have any real numbers to back this up, that I highly doubt advertising by comment on another channel actually drives any real viewers to one’s own channel.
That is simply the nature of things though. I for one certainly don’t feel inclined to spend my time investigating some unknown channel because my time is valuable and I am already satisfied with the channels that I watch.
Therefore how can a channel, or a blog or whatever, grow popular?
While producing high quality and desirable content is a necessity, I believe a little bit of luck and circumstance is too. A channel must place itself in the right place at the right time and perhaps try traditional advertising in none traditional ways. I don’t really know the answer quite frankly because I don’t rightly believe an answer to this actually exists. I don’t believe their is any magic bullet solution.
People are naturally at rest so a content producer who wants to disrupt this rest and become popular must push people to care about their content and that is a very difficult thing to do.
Nonetheless, this is one of the very reasons why I love youtube and the internet. There is an absurd amount of competition in some spaces but fundamentally anyone can rise to fame and success through it. It may just be luck, sure, but everyone has access and that is a very, very beautiful thing.