New York -- AwesomenessTV, the YouTube multichannel network launched in 2012 and acquired by DreamWorks Animation in 2013, that focuses on the influential teens and tweens demographic, knows how to connect with its audience and draw a crowd.
T.J. Marchetti, AwesomenessTV's chief marketing officer and a keynoter here Thursday at the Multichannel News/Broadcasting & Cable On Demand Summit, said a tweet sent out by The Janoskians, a group of YouTubers from Australia that does prank videos (and has parlayed that into 1.22 million Twitter followers), a few hours before an appearance at Times Square caused fans to swarm in and shut down the iconic area.
Their fans “totally overwhelmed the place,” said Marchetti (pictured above).
Nash Grier, another superstar on the AwesomenessTV roster known for his prowess on Vine, the Twitter-owned service that users tap to send out short six-second video clips, also drew a big crowd last fall during an appearance on ABC’s Good Morning America, causing a long-time producer to declare that the only other person who created as much pandemonium was teen hearthrob Justin Bieber.
While Grier may not be a celebrity in the traditional sense yet, he’s influential, Marchetti said, because Generation Z trusts him, and views him as relatable and approachable.
And those are just two examples of the power yielded by the key demographic that AwesomenessTV targets through its online video presence and its distribution deal with Nickelodeon.
“There’s a different language being spoken out there by Generation Z,” Marchetti said, noting earlier that AwesomenessTV is now drawing about 1 billion views per month. “The media that matters in the world today is video,” Marchetti added, noting that YouTube has become “part of the heart of that ecosystem.”
Marchetti said there’s no huge secret to the success AwesomenessTV has had connecting with its audience. “We just listen,” he said. “We’re just reading what’s out there…it’s about being in touch with that DMA.”
But the ability of MCNs like AwesomenessTV has also led to questions about brand equity – is it with the MCN itself or with its base of talent?
Marchetti acknowledged that talent is a key driver, but the broader mission is “to drive our brand.”
While YouTube remains a key platform for AwesomenessTV, the company is expanding beyond that. The prime example of that is the show (appropriately called AwesomenessTV) that runs on Nickelodeon.
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