Victorious is launching mobile apps today built for Internet video stars Ryan Higa and The Young Turks.
I assume this is good news if you’re a fan of Higa or The Young Turks, but even if you’re not, it’s the first public launch of apps from Victorious, making it the first real glimpse of what the company can do. Basically, Victorious works with stars from video platforms like YouTube and Vine, building an app for them where they can connect directly with their “superfans”, offer exclusive content, and make money with advertising and e-commerce.
For example, the company says Higa (who has 14.2 million subscribers on YouTube) will release previously unseen footage, debut new shows, host live chats, and allow fans to share their own content
I first wrote about Victorious last summer — so these apps have been in the works for a while. Co-founder and CEO Sam Rogoway said the company works closely with each creator: “We’re big believers in not just handing an app over to our creative partners and saying good luck. We spend a lot of time working with them to find ways in which we can activate superfans and keep them highly engaged.”
Rogoaway added that giving each creator their own app, where they control the relationship with their audience, is a key part of the company’s strategy. (It’s also a contrast with recently-launched Vessel, which is also trying to recruit YouTube stars and build a broader subscription service around them.) In the app launch release, Higa said, “I’ve always wanted to connect with my viewers but there’s only so much you can do through commenting and tweets.”
“More than ever, the creator is king,” said Rogoway’s co-founder and chief creative officer Bing Chen. He argued, “You don’t come to YouTube for YouTube” — you come for specific creators. (Chen was previously YouTube’s global head of creator development and management, so he should know what he’s talking about.)
There are plans for more app launches in the coming weeks. Other creators on Victorious’ roster include Michelle Phan, Freddie Wong, Jukin Media, and DeStorm Power, and Geek & Sundry. The company says its total creator network already reaches more than 250 million fans. And there are plans to partner with film franchises and TV shows.