Celebrity, Seriality, and Corporate Social Media: Alterations to Video Form and Content in the Transition to YouTube Red
In February of 2005, former PayPal employees Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim launched a simple video-sharing platform intended for uploading and broadcasting home videos. Over the course of the ensuing decade, YouTube became one of the most potent media forces in the world, host to billions of hours of footage and an inextricable component of the global corporate media landscape. “YouTube” means many things simultaneously; it has been at once a major instrument of the Arab Spring, an invaluable tool for educators, a window into the lives of the newly-minted crop of celebrity vloggers and influencers, and the hub of populist movements worldwide. It has become difficult to pass any single sweeping statement that encapsulates its various communities, speaks to its various social, creative, and political potentials, or describes all of the ways innovators have harnessed its simple format to create diverse content. That said, YouTube is not a blank canvas; it has increasingly assumed a curatorial position towards the videos it hosts, and its shifting format has begun to influence the kinds of content which can find an audience on the platform. Guided by the requirements of its corporate advertising partners and the ascendancy of streaming sites as its major competitors, YouTube has increasingly begun to incorporate the hallmarks of more traditional media broadcasting mediums.
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