Online-media stars Ryan Higa and The Young Turks have launched their own mobile apps pulling together all their social media and other content for theirsuperfans. The apps are the first built on the mobile platform of much-hyped startup Victorious.
Victorious co-founders Sam Rogoway and Bing Chen said they expect to roll out a string of other such apps, each owned and operated by the celebrity or brand the app is built for. The apps can include posts from a celeb’s presence not just on YouTube but on other social media, stand-alone content like chat rooms that will be exclusive to the app, advertising and much else, providing new ways for an online star to make money and connect directly with their most ardent supporters.
Higa, in fact, is using his Tee Hee app (the name comes from a term Higa uses regularly on his shows) to create more than just a presence for himself. His app will include exclusive footage, a game, new interactive content, material submitted by fans and other creators and much else. Higa should have plenty of material to choose from: he has more than 4.5 million subscribers on YouTube, and millions of other followers across other platforms.
The Young Turks have been a pioneering presence on any number of online-video platforms for more than a decade now, including a recently launched Facebook-focused daily segment featuring founder Cenk Uygur. Their app will be used in the group’s effort to find the next Young Turk. It also will provide behind-the-scenes footage, polls, contests and other ways for fans to influence programming each week.
In coming months, Rogoway and Chen said they expect to announce similar apps for prominent film and TV clients, big corporate brands and other clients. They already have deals for several big online-media companies – AwesomenessTV, Machinima, Jukin Media – Ryan Seacrest-backed live-event company DigiTour Media and prominent YouTubers such as lifestyle monarch Michelle Phan, Video Game High School creator Freddie Wong, Joey Graceffa, Jenna Marbles, Glozell, and Geek and Sundry, among others.
The apps target ‘superfans,’ the hard-core followers who are effectively the shock troops of success for a celebrity, show or brand. They typically are far more interested in interacting with a brand, creating content, and paying for it all, Chen and Rogoway said.
“Superfans drive the majority of engagement in the digital video ecosystem, but are underserved by existing platforms,” said Rogoway, the CEO. “We are helping creators transcend the lean-back nature of their video channels by wrapping community around their content.”
Chen, formerly head of YouTube’s channel relations and Victorious’ chief creative officer, said online video creators have become “multi-platform, multi-industry empires,” who want direct, unmediated connections with their audiences that don’t rely on another platform or its algorithms controlling their relationships.
Santa Monica-based Victorious backers include Kleiner Perkins, Redpoint Ventures, Lowercase Capital, Interwest Partners, Canaan Partners, Advancit Capital, Karlin Ventures, BDMI, Mucker Capital, United Talent Agency, WME, and A-Grade.