Maker Studios, one of Disney’s most recent large acquisitions, is one that most Disney fans are utterly confused by. An internet multi-channel network? Is that even English?! It is, and frankly, it can be one of the best acquisitions Disney has ever made. Dare I say, Marvel level good. Once again, you are reading this and currently questioning my self-worth, but take into account that I said “can be.”
Let me explain what the network is really about. YouTubers can join Maker Studios, which aids them in providing technology, analytics, collaboration opportunities, and more to allow their YouTube channels to flourish, receive an abundance of subscribers, and produce a profit for the YouTubers themselves. Unlike some other multichannel networks (for example, MyDamnChannel), Maker Studios is very adamant in saying that you are allowed to keep full ownership for your own content. When Grace Helbig, a very popular YouTube star (who has a book coming out this month and a pilot over at E!) left MyDamnChannel at the beginning of this year, she was not allowed to take any of her content with her, so that meant the structure, certain phrases…nothing.
Maker Studios does, however, take a cut of your profits from the videos you make (this money is made through product deals, like this, and the usual adsense you can add to your videos), so you are never retaining full financial benefits.
Most people don’t understand the internet at all when it comes to “internet celebs” or they don’t understand how these people they’ve never heard of, like Mamrie Hart or Tyler Oakley or Miranda Sings, have millions of followers, make thousands (sometimes even millions) of dollars, and are some of the most famous people on the planet. It’s all thanks to YouTube. The site has encouraged and created things like their “Partners” program and the YouTube Space in L.A. to encourage and aid in getting these people the tools and money needed to create some amazing, hilarious, and fantastic content.
Now, when it comes to why you may not know these names is that the internet community of fans who obsess and love these people is a very young demographic, mostly female, that is around 12-25 ish. This demographic, however, is gigantic and powerful. Three YouTube stars released an online only film called “Camp Takota” that made back its budget in 4 days. Multiple conventions take place on both coasts (Playlist Live on the East Coast and Vidcon on the West Coast) that make oodles of money. John Green, famous YA author who wrote the pop culture juggernaut “The Fault In Our Stars,” is a YouTube celeb who has been on the site with his brother Hank since 2007 as part of their channel “Vlogbrothers”. People love YouTubers.
Now, when I said “can be,” here is the deal. YouTubers are really embracing having their own channels at this point in the site’s history. Some for money reasons, some for content ownership reasons, but overall, people just want their own YouTube careers. PewDiePie, the number one YouTuber currently with over 31 million subscribers and a part of Maker Studios, is close to leaving and creating his own multichannel network. If he leave, not only will he draw others to his network, but he is a HUGE member of the network that would vanish.
I’m curious to see how Disney shapes this studio into something their own, how it affects both companies, and if this “personal ownership” movement stops Maker from living up to its full potential. Let us see if Disney can join the ranks of YouTube stardom.