Felix Kjellberg aka "PewDiePie"
YouTube sensation PewDiePie announced today that he makes over $7 million a year ,which unsurprisingly, opened the floodgates of internet outrage. But if you knew the industry, you wouldn’t be surprised by that figure.
There is a huge ecosystem developing around online influencers and LA has been the first city to adapt.
Amid rising competitors like FameBit and Influicity, local startup FanBread has carved out its own corner of the industry by not only branding influencers but assisting in the creation of content. After raising a $2 million funding round last week, the Santa Monica company is growing steadily as they raft down the choppy waters of a very unpredictable industry.
“We’re essentially building a new industry. We’re building a new Hollywood,” said Marketing and Strategy director Jennifer Chang. “You’re seeing a lot of companies trying to support the YouTube influencer space. There’s so many gaps in the market because there is this whole new influx of media. The audiences are tuning in and there is money to be made but the infrastructure and ecosystem just isn't there yet. Fanbread is different because it not only connects influencers to brands but also plays a key role in the middle by being content producers as well.”
As for Felix Kjellberg — the YouTuber behind PewDiePie — Chang doesn’t agree with the harsh backlash he has received.
“He’s making $7 million doing something he’s really passionate about, connecting with people all over the world and I think that's something that should be really admired. But what is not being told is 5 million other YouTube partners in the ecosystem and a lot of them aren’t making enough money to turn their passion into a full time job.”
And that is where FanBread hopes to help.
With a free site generator and a content marketplace to pull from, the year old company is helping online influencers bridge the gap from being popular to making money.
“The really cool thing about the YouTuber ecosystem is that everything is passion driven and organic,” added Chang. “It would be awesome if we could help more people make a decent paycheck. Not everyone will make $7 million, but maybe we can get you $5,000 a month so you don’t have to go to the crappy job you hate and dread going to in the morning.”
As for the industry, there are still a lot of kinks to work out, says Chang. But where there is money, there is always a future. Like any other young ecosystem, trial and error will occur until people find the best way to utilize online talent. But with a camera on nearly every computer in the world, Chang isn’t worried that the online influencer market will dilute itself.
“I think the cream will rise. LA is where creative people have flocked to for decade and not all of them make it. But that’s part of the whole process— you have to figure out how to get to the top.”
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