Follow up: PewDiePie and Maker.
If you haven't read my previous post click here.
In my last post, I explained the situation with PewDiePie, YouTube and the Walt Disney Company. Felix has issued a response video.
In my post, I wanted to explain things, the industry, I didn’t make my personal views clear on PewDiePie as a creator. I explained that a shift in personality has tainted his channel and has ruined deals and ultimately the deals with Disney and YouTube. I talked about the jokes which he made as satire, which didn’t work. His response was exactly what it needed to be.
So here’s the clarity. I admitted his reputation would ultimately be tainted because of these videos, which he himself admitted previously. I said I wouldn’t be surprised if he lost these deals eventually. I then said this article was ultimately responsible. Which it clearly was. Before I go any further, I said in my last post that Felix was ‘blanketing comments as satire’ which is poor wording on my part. It’s clearly satire and I apologise for the mis-wording which makes my view seem different. It’s now corrected.
I read the Wall Street Journal article with a grain of salt (I bypassed the ad-wall because I cannot support a publication which will waste an investigation on this). The article refused to acknowledge that these were intended as jokes. We ultimately have to consider who is the one who defines a joke - the speaker or three business journalists who’re scared about their future careers? Context is important, and it did seem to me that the Wall Street Journal journalists refused to consider context. I have seen all the deleted videos, I see the context, I can tell it’s a joke, but it’s just an unfunny and tasteless joke – to me. Humour is subjective. I find BuzzFeed’s attempt at comedy, ridiculously unfunny. But they appeal to a mass demographic. Do I complain? No. I instead, criticize BuzzFeed’s lack of journalistic integrity and suggest people enable ad-block when they visit their website. Which, might I add, is something I’ve started doing on the Wall Street Journal, a publication whom I’ve had a lot of respect for until this article. Not only that, but I’m suggesting people do the same here too. Dark humour exists, there are boundaries and that’s undeniable. What I don’t understand is how we’re calling out PewDiePie, an internet celebrity, but not a show like South Park, or Family Guy for making jokes which are very similar. Just look at the one episode of the former where Eric Cartman idolises Adolf Hitler. It’s hilarious, and a far worse offender than PewDiePie.
It comes down to the business. I talked about New-Media and how it’s in its infancy. The old-media is undoubtedly scared of it. Disney, for example, is seeing a loss in subscribers in ESPN due to people ditching cable services for online distribution. It’s hit their share price dramatically. Disney, however, embraces new-media. They’re looking for alternative distribution, namely online. The Wall Street Journal has it’s days numbered, like all print media for that matter. Despite trying to offer subscriptions digitally, they can’t compete with social media and free news sources (BBC and BuzzFeed). Their solution is to clickbait and block articles to force you to subscribe and read the full article.
Is it a personal attack on PewDiePie? No, it’s not. Is it an attack on new-media? Yes, it is. Not long after the journalists at WSJ published this article, they published another article titled: ‘PewDiePie’s exit bring Disney’s struggles with Maker Studios to the fore;’. What problems? I’m serious. What issues have Disney had with Maker? Maker has given Disney a foot in new-media, countless brand synergy deals have been made, Disney has direct contact to major influencers. Ask Bob Iger in his next press appearance, he’ll say that Maker Studios is a good division and they benefit greatly from it. Maker Studios is a leader in new-media production and networking. Wall Street Journal fails to appeal to millennials and is trying to copy the BuzzFeed formula.
I was purposefully grey in my previous post, mainly because I wanted it to go this way so I can say this. Print media is dead. I buy newspapers occasionally to skim through and then use in my logburner. But 99% of the time, I’m getting news online. Through Polygon, The Verge, YouTube creators such as Phillip DeFranco and BBC News (who might be the only old-media company who has successfully moved to new-media). Wall Street Journal will fade into oblivion within a decade and because it’s not all that popular anyway, it’s decided to attack new-media. Making one of the internet’s most popular creators its main target, cornering his associated companies to cut ties with him or face bad publicity. The Wall Street Journal has just destroyed its reputation with a vast majority of internet users and will ultimately face the consequences.
I admire and respect PewDiePie. He’s a leader in new-media and not just because of analytics. He’s been an activist for the rights of content creators, he’s a philanthropist and has demonstrated compassion for others online. And he’s a successful entrepreneur and a leader for people who call YouTube their jobs.
Felix will not be affected by this. He will continue to create content and make money from it. As will others on YouTube. The Wall Street Journal has two options, apologise, or watch it destroy itself from the inside.