5 Q’s With…RJ Williams, Young Hollywood
When you think of celebrity-driven content on YouTube, you can’t help but think of Young Hollywood. Not only was Young Hollywood one of the early “networks” to take shape on YouTube (founded in 2007), but the company has nicely dovetailed that presence into an off-platform business that boasts over 4M unique visitors monthly on its destination site and a rivaled licensing division that services video content to major media companies like Yahoo!, YouTube, Hulu, ABC, CBS, VH1, BET, MTV, and E!
We caught up with RJ to learn more about the Young Hollywood secret sauce and his vision for the industry.
1. Young Hollywood was one of the first players in the space, especially for celebrity and entertainment content. From the funded channels we saw that celebrity doesn’t always convert in the online video world, why don’t celebrities equal success on YouTube just by themselves and what is your secret sauce?
I think the real key is embracing your audience. While curation is important, you have to hone in on a specific demo and give them what they want. Interactivity and Audience Engagement are also very important. We want our audience to feel like they are part of the Young Hollywood world. We make that connection through social media, responding to their comments and watching our analytics very closely.
2. If the online video industry was a baseball game, what inning are we in and why?
The top of the 3rd inning. The industry isn’t even halfway to where it can be, and ultimately to where it will be. Looking at the YH roadmap we have built out for the next several years, it shows we have just scratched the surface of what we can do.
3. Young Hollywood has had the new YouTube channel page layout for awhile now – has it at all affected the viewing habits of you audience? How so or not?
It’s still too early to tell because many users are still getting familiar with the new layout. We have seen an increase in our subscribers which is one of the main goals of this new layout. But we are watching closely to see how it does for us as far as views and engagement are concerned.
4. What are you most looking forward to seeing happen by the end of 2013 in online video?
Online video is no longer viewed as the niche it once was. Content producers from all mediums are starting to embrace the digital space more and more. The lines between platforms are starting to blur and I’m looking forward to seeing them blur even more, so there is no longer a distinction between online video and broadcast video.
5. Who do you think is killing it in online video (aside from yourself, of course!)?
I love what Redbull is doing, especially what they did with Felix Baumgartner. It was innovative and captured everyone’s attention. They are a brand which has gotten into the content business in a major way and are paving the way for many other brands.