YouTube has developed into a massive business ecosystem in 2013, with creators taking the spotlight at Vidcon, MCN's generating millions in investment dollars, and CEO's (and former CEO's) generating massive industry buzz. With traditional entertainment on the decline and industry titans like Spielberg declaring death to the movie industry as we know it - it appears as if we're on the verge of a new generation of new media titans to take over Hollywood.
Welcome to our 2013 list of the new media whizzes within the business of YouTube – a list of the most prolific business minds who undoubtedly have and will be shaping the face of digital, social media, and entertainment as we know it. This group is exceptional, and undoubtedly contains the next crop of Ari Emanuels, Barry Diller's, Arianna Huffington's, and Mark Burnett's. They are pushing the limits of the business in the YouTube business world. While clearly there are many more entities that we feel are positively shaping the face of the YouTube business ecosystem, we felt that the following 25 players deserve to be highlighted in the first year of our list.
So who are these masterminds and how did we pick them? We focused on those:
- With a proven track record – Have been working in YouTube and social media for at least three years (one third of the platforms existence).
- Making savvy moves – Seem poised to continue to build on their career momentum.
- Innovative business minds – They've been continuously reinventing the space and breaking new ground.
25 New Media Stars of the YouTube Business Ecosystem
Many of these 25 (actually 30 faces) are familiar, some are not. We tried to highlight some the players making moves behind the scenes and not just the YouTube stars and CEO's. BTW – if you'd like to follow these leaders on twitter, I've made a twitter list with all the players.
Here they are, in reverse alphabetical order based off last name. Click through the slideshow below to see for yourself (navigation at bottom).
NICK WOODMAN (GoPro)
Nick Woodman, founder and CEO of GoPro, makes the list, not only for his innovation in the technology field, but for the way GoPro has embraced online video, particularly UGC, to promote the brand. Originally created as a wrist camera for surfers, Woodman's use of YouTube as a marketing medium, using video content created by the people that bought them to showcase the cameras capabilities, has resulted in a passionately engaged fan base of 1.4 million subscribers that have contributed 356 million views to the GoPro YouTube channel. As of 2013, he is worth an estimated US $1.3 billion and GoPro continues to lead the way in earned media marketing.
DAN WEINSTEIN – (Collective Digital Studio)
Dan Weinstein is Chief Content Officer / Founding Partner at the Collective Digital Studio. Dan, is largely credited created for The Collective's success in digital, signing The Annoying Orange and making those annoying fruits a phenomenon with their own plush toys in Toys' R' US, TV show, and iPhone app. We're excited to see what Weinstein plans to do next, with top talent FreddieW, Epic Meal Time, CinemaSins, etc on the Collective roster, he's surely up to something big.
BRENT WEINSTEIN (United Talent Agency)
Largely known as a traditional talent agency, UTA (United Talent Agency) has been aggressively making moves into the digital space recently. Brent advised YouTube and their 100 million dollar investment into original content – helping structure the deal that put channels like Young Hollywood on YouTube’s programming slate. Most recently the digital group Brent heads up has snapped up top YouTube stars iJustine and Shane Dawson and shows no sign of slowing down.
GEORGE STROMPOLOS (FullScreen)
George Strompolos handled strategic partner development for YouTube before forming MCN, Fullscreen in 2011. This was a big year for George and Fullscreen, growing to over 2.5 billion monthly views, and becoming the #1 MCN for nearly eight months in a row. Fullscreen also made waves after announcing a Series A investment, rumored to be in the $30 million range.
SHANE SMITH (Vice)
Vice Magazine co-founder, Shane Smith, has become the envy of most traditional and digital media companies. Smith and team have turned Vice YouTube's channel into a powerhouse with over 3.5 million subscribers (and growing fast) – using YouTube as a launchpad to promote their much buzzed about HBO special which just got picked up for a second season.
JONATHAN SKOGMO (Jukin Video)
Former TV producer for Discovery, TruTV, and CMT, Jonathan Skogmo, founded JukinVideo with a view towards connecting video creators with influencers in the entertainment industry. As a B2B e-commerce platform for creative professionals, JukinVideo helps brands and broadcasters find content that's easy to licence and helps video creators generate revenue from having their videos used across different media platforms. Under the umbrella of parent company ChiWay Entertainment, Jukin have carved out a niche for extreme sports, pranks, stunts and pet footage and have worked with some of biggest brands in the world as well as every major TV network.
TIM SHEY (YouTube Next Lab)
Tim Shey has steadily been shaping the face of YouTube since 2006. Having launched Next New Network, which was acquired by YouTube in 2011, Shey literally wrote the book on YouTube strategy – publishing of YouTube's Creator Playbook as part of his role as the Director of YouTube Next Lab. Shey continues to innovate within the space, helping grow and built out Next Lab teams to support YouTube creators worldwide.
SUZIE REIDER (Google/YouTube)
Reider was hired as the CMO for YouTube in 2006 (pre Google acquisition), eventually becoming the Head of Advertising Sales – responsible for overseeing all sales and marketing teams on the platform. Under Reider's supervision and leadership, YouTube transformed from money burner to money earner for Google and she has since become the Director of Media Solutions for Google. Suzie was also the our opening keynote speaker for the 2013 Video Marketing Summit (Watch video).
SARAH PENNA (Big Frame)
Recently named one of Hollywood’s New Leaders in Digital by Variety, Sarah has been a staple in the YouTube space for quite some time. Sarah is the Co-founder/chief creative officer, at YouTube MCN Big Frame and also founded one of the first “YouTube-centric management companies, the Cloud Media, as a precursor to BigFrame. BigFrame represents such high-profile YouTubers as MysteryGuitarMan, DeStorm Power, and Tyler Oakley.
SCOTT MONTY (Ford Motor Company)
Scott Monty is the Head of Social Media for Ford Motor Company and has been ranked by Forbes as one of the top 10 influencers in social media. Best known within the space for his brainchild, the Fiesta Movement, Monty has broken down barriers within the marketing world. He's leading the charge in social media by readily embracing YouTube and YouTube stars to help drive awareness around Ford.
PETAR MANDICH (Addition LLC.)
Petar's career is on the fast track. After spending several years at The Collective, where he worked his way up to Digital Content and Talent Manager, he left earlier this year to start his own company, Addition LLC. Addition is on a hot streak, signing one of the most sought after talent in the space – iJustine.
JIM LOUDERBACK (Revision3)
Since 2007, Jim Louderback has been elevating the business of online video. First as the CEO of Revision3, Louderback helped bring independent producers under the Revision3 umbrella, including YouTube hit makers Phil DeFranco, RatedRR, and Epic Meal Time. Under his leadership, Rev3 became first major MCN acquisition success story, being bought by Discovery Communications in 2012. A year later Louderback helped lead the acquisition of top Rev3 talent, The Philip DeFranco show.
TRESSIE LIEBERMAN (Taco Bell)
Ms. Lieberman joined Taco Bell in January 2012 after establishing Pizza Hut’s digital program. Under her purview, Taco Bell has made huge waves within the YouTube community – with the brand making frequent appearances within top YouTuber social media feeds. The brand is so ingrained in the YouTube scene, a recent job description for a Social Media Coordinator job asked the question "Do you know who Tyler Oakley is?"
As CIO of District Lines, Kevin pushed the company, which originally started out as a merch company for indy bands into the YouTube space – becoming the go to supplier for YouTuber apparel back in 2006. The savvy business move paid off, and District Lines continues to dominate the space in spite of larger players such as spreadshirt trying to break in. Kevin, is also the mastermind, and co-founder of Playlist Live, the second largest YouTube convention, hosted each year in Florida. According to his personal site, after a successful event earlier this year, he's moved on to work on other projects including a webapp for YouTube Channels.
WILL KEENAN (Endemol)
During his tenure as Vice President Of Vertical Development, Network Programming at Maker Studios, Will Keenan signed a series of high-profile channels. Notably, Keenan brought into the Maker fold tens of channels garnering over 300 million views per month including BadLipReading, seesmod (Kevin Smith), WreckroomRecords (Adrian Grenier), and Emmy-nominated actress/comedienne Margaret Cho ("In Transition", her 1st web series). He has since left Maker, and it was recently announced that he's joining Endemol's digital division as President.
ZACH JAMES & RICHARD RADDON (ZEFR Media)
James & Raddon, co-founders of Zefr Media, have paved the way for media companies to manage and claim their content via YouTube's content ID technology. The duo got their start when they launched MovieClips, a movie clips sharing Web startup company before pivoting to content ID. Their "YouTube-centric technology and rights-management platform" has made them the one stop shop for the major media companies looking to claim their content via YouTube's content ID technology. Most recently, Zefr is looking to expand its influencer and extend its technology to brands with a new product called BrandID.
IAN HECOX & ANTHONY PADILLA (SMOSH)
Hecox and Padilla are YouTube veterans – the two started on the platform in 2006 and haven't looked back. They're currently in the top 5 most subscribed channels, but the reason they've made this list is because of their ability to leverage the platform to expand their success beyond YouTube. Smosh.com is the the most heavily trafficked YouTuber website, with fan forums, exclusive content, etc, furthermore the two most recently launched a 'Smosh' magazine and are undoubtedly going to dominate newsstands for years to come. The duo have become the case study for off YouTube diversification.
HANK GREEN & JOHN GREEN (VidCon, The VlogBrothers)
Hank and John Green AKA the Vlogbrothers are the founders of the largest YouTube convention - Vidcon. Recently wrapping up its fourth year, Vidcon amassed over 12,000 attendees, and has become for YouTube what CES is to the electronics industry. Not content being YouTube stars and event organizers, the Vlogbrothers have also launched Subbable a ‘Pay What You Want/ Tip Jar’ Video Platform to help support creators.
A YouTube Marketing veteran, since 2006 Gahan has been the man behind the scenes of hundreds of YouTube and Influencer campaigns for major brands such as GE, Pepsi, and 20th Century Fox. Gahan was named one of Forbes '30 Under 30 brightest minds' in marketing and advertising last year. Most recently Gahan left his role as VP of Brand Strategy at Fullscreen to build his own business and was invited this week to the White House as one of 150 young leaders to meet with Administration Officials to discuss raising awareness of Affordable Care Act among the nation's youth.
ZE FRANK (BuzzFeed)
Well known as a pioneer of the vlogging format, Ze Frank has had a huge impact on YouTube and is credited as the inspiration to such shows as the vlogbrothers, Philip DeFranco and Wheezy Waiter. However, it's his role as the Executive Vice President of Video at BuzzFeed that we feel has earned him a place on this list. Under Frank's leadership, Buzzfeed's YouTube following has skyrocketed with no sign of slowing down.
Phil Defranco is the Richard Branson of new media. Easily one of the most successful YouTube personalities, Phil's shown himself to be a keen businessman, with an ability to lend his personal charisma and brand to expand into new and different industries with great success. Starting out with his popular SxePhil channel, Phil has steadily expanded his empire – becoming founder of a highly successful merchandise business Forhumanpeoples.com, Producer of the wildly successful Sourcefed, and most recently jumping into TV by joining the team at Discovery.
ALLEN DeBEVOISE (Machinima)
Allen DeBevoise is currently the Chairman and CEO of Machinima, one of the leading MCN's – generating more than 1.6 billion video views a month and has more than 168 million monthly users. Machinima has positioned itself as a leader within the MCN space, owning the narrative around video games in online video and recently raising around of funding which included a $30 million investment from Google. Just last month, Allen announced that he will be stepping down as CEO and a new GM, Stephen Semprevivo, was named just last week. Allen is also an angel investor in several online video related startups including Tubular Labs and TheVideoInk.com.
WERNER BRELL (RedBull Media House)
Red Bull is the most successful brand on YouTube. They're consistently in the top 100 most subscribed channels, and their content is more than just advertising, its a profitable business. Brell – who heads up Red Bull Media House, runs content distribution for the brand, both on and off YouTube and rather than shelling out millions in advertising, under his leadership Red Bull has positioned itself into an enviable position as the most most followed and engaged brand on YouTube consistently generating millions of earned views with its extreme sports content.
I think that we'd be remiss if we were to talk about the YouTube business ecosystem without hitting on the music industry. One person who has made an incredible impact on both is Scooter Braun, who was named as one of Time Magazine's 100 most influential people in the world for 2013. If you haven't heard of Scooter, you've no doubt heard of the massive talent that he has discovered off of YouTube and managed – Justin Bieber, Psy, Cody Simpson, and Carly Rae Jepsen to name a few.
DREW BALDWIN, JOSH COHEN & MARC HUSTVEDT (Tubefilter)
Baldwin, Cohen, and Hustvedt co-founded Tubefilter, as well as the Online Video Awards show, the Streamys. Tubefilter has grown to be a must read source of information for those working within the space, while the Streamy's has arguably become YouTube's version of the Emmy's. Although Hustvedt moved on to Chill.com (which is shutting-down next week), the mark these three have made, and continue to make will be felt for years to come.
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