Report – Online Killed the TV Star

Posted on: Thursday 04 July 2019 10:34pm by Cate Zerega

5 BILLION YouTube videos are watched EVERY DAY. With 430, 000 hours of content being uploaded to the platform every day, it’s no surprise that we all fear the demise of TV as we know it.


  • Recognize the snobbery that dismisses the online star.
  • Creating a crossover success is best served with a holistic, talent first approach – can’t plug just any talent into any show and expect audience success.


Presenter Leah Charles King started the session playing three clips and asked the panel and audience which clip had the most views. A clip of Kylie Jenner’s daughter won with over twenty-seven million. Influencer Lewys Ball explained that many of Jenner’s viewers feel an emotional connection with this content because they’ve been there through Jenner’s pregnancy and birth. Lewys’s analysis helped convey the subtlety necessary when analysing this new world of content.

Leah continued the conversation asking panelist Steve Wynne about developing online stars and bringing them over to TV.  Steve expressed the view that children’s TV was a media that could incubate up and coming talent. However, the market has changed. Online stars don’t need that exposure – many have more of a following than the broadcasters. Additionally, much of the online talent he sees don’t connect on a broadcasting platform so the process is still about finding “star quality” regardless of platform. Additionally, Steve cautioned against producers attempting to micro manage crossover stars online content because it comes off as inauthentic which doesn’t benefit either tv or online.

Francesca Scambler, group talent manager with Gleam Futures digital-first management business contextualized the process of online stars moving to tv as a symbol of legitimization in one of the fastest paced part of the industry saying, “you’ve been picked above all the other you tubers and talent”. Being on tv may be seen as the end process of the development process she works on with her talent. She seeks to preserve longevity, diversify audience and develop skillset for her online talent. However, they do not utilize a traditional Ofcom approach (which Charles-King learned in her media training) in their development.

Stuart Rowson, BBC Children’s Head of Discovery talked about navigating branded content online. CBBC puts content on youtube, however, they do not brand it. Stuart explained that unbranded content has helped them give new audiences good content as a means to bring the audience over to TV. CBBC is currently building a team of young influencers and developing content around the influencers passions such as music, gaming and sport that is based around CBBC editorial values with the goal of bringing watchers over.

Leah finished the panel with the question: what’s the future of online and TV? Stuart predicted that the intersection of fandom culture and tech will yield the next big development. Steve was thinking about the impact audience fragmentation will have on advertising investment in TV. Lewys – sees success for both online and TV if both develop to be specific and engaging. He compared the appeal of ‘Love Island’ and YouTube – both are successful at providing content that helps the audience invest in a person that they keep coming back to.

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Cate Zerega

About the author

Cate Zerega

Freelance Production Coordinator

Cate has worked as a nanny, a talent agent, in casting & production. Cate’s resume means she no longer fears anything and has sunblock & headshots always about. She completed an MA in the screen industries in 2018 & works passionately to promoting female filmmakers. Read more