Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

 

Media Editor

The BBC has moved to protect its young audience by hiring a series of YouTube "vloggers" to work for Radio 1 ahead of the proposed closure of the youth-orientated television channel BBC3.

But the initiative coincided with claims by the former head of BBC3 that the corporation had made a "massive strategic mistake" in consigning the channel to an online-only service and that it would result in large numbers of young people abandoning the broadcaster in favour of Channel 4. It was "pretty perverse, odd decision", he said.

Speaking at the Edinburgh International Television Festival, Zai Bennett, who walked out of BBC3 in June and now heads the Sky Atlantic channel, said: "I think the BBC is on a strategic course to licence fee renewal, which isn't aligned with what the audience requires from the BBC." BBC3's budget had been "obliterated", he said.

The BBC is "a £3.5bn organisation which is choosing to stop funding for a young adult audience that can't get [content] anywhere else", he said. "It's just a big cut." Mr Bennett predicted that C4, and it's youth channel E4, would be "rubbing their hands with glee" and were set to inherit "massive market share" from BBC3's move online.

But the comments provoked a passionate response from Ben Cooper, one of the BBC's most senior executives for youth audiences, as the head of Radio 1 and Radio 1Xtra. "You've got to pull back and see the BBC in the round at the moment. They have got to save money," he said. "They have got to protect the mothership of BBC1. BBC1 is to the majority of the audience the BBC. The one thing they are also trying to protect is drama. That is why money was taken from the BBC3 budget."

He said the demise of BBC3 had been "an emotional thing" for Mr Bennett.

Having announced the recruitment of 10 video bloggers for Radio 1, whose output will be streamed on the Radio 1 website, Mr Cooper said: "The Radio 1 audience and the BBC3 audience are going to have to be joined together more strategically. The BBC has a youth channel - it has Radio 1. It's music and it's entertainment but also we are doing visual things."

As it prepares to debate its case for licence fee renewal, the BBC is facing a challenge in remaining relevant to the youth audience. Mr Cooper said "a lot of young people are spending time on YouTube and looking at and responding to vloggers."

Radio 1 will work with around 10 stars of YouTube, including UK comedian TomSka (aka Thomas Ridgewell) and style guru Zoella (aka Zoe Sugg). Between them the vloggers, have 27m subscribers.

The vloggers will appear on rotation as guest presenters of an hour-long Monday night show hosted by Radio 1's Dan and Phil from September. They will broadcast on camera from the Radio 1 studios at Broadcasting House in London. Dan Howell and Phil Lester were themselves vlogging stars on YouTube before they were recruited to the Radio 1 schedule at the start of last year.

"We feel like proud parents introducing the spawn of the internet to the people of the radio," said Dan and Phil in a statement.

Mr Cooper told the TV festival: "I think that's a way of innovating and saying young people obviously love relating to vloggers so let's bring those vloggers to radio, let's get some new presenters on Radio 1. You never know, we might find the next John Peel or Chris Evans from that next set of presenters because they have a real honesty and a real ease with which they present."

Mr Cooper said that Radio 1's own YouTube channel had amassed 1.4m, subscribers, a third of whom were females between 13-17. Nearly 1bn minutes of Radio 1 YouTube content has been consumed, he said.

Who are the Radio 1 vloggers?

TomSka

Real name Thomas Ridgewell, he has 3m subscribers on YouTube where he is a long-established comedy star specialising in short films, sketches and cartoons. He has 3m subscribers.

Zoella

Real name Zoe Sugg. Specialises in hair, beauty and fashion videos. She has 5.7m subscribers and 2.09m Twitter followers. At 24 she used her vlogging success to buy herself a Brighton penthouse.

BritPopPrincess

Real name Patricia Bright. Born to Nigerian, parents she lives in London and her YouTube channel specialises in fashion and beauty tutorials. She said she was "so excited to do a YouTuber takeover on "Radio 1", adding that she was "so glad to see the wider community embracing what we do". She has 500,000 subscribers.

Troye Sivan

South African-born, Australian actor. He has 2.5m subscribers.

ThatcherJoe

Real name Joe Sugg. The younger brother of Zoe Sugg. He has 2.7m subscribers.

Caspar

Real name Caspar Lee. Raised in South Africa and now living in London, a room mate of ThatcherJoe. He has 2.9m subscribers.

Tyler Oakley

American vlogger and advocate for LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) youth. He has 5.1m subscribers.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Urgent Requirement - Central Manchester

£20000 - £23000 per annum + 20 days holidays & pension: Ashdown Group: Marketi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Guru Careers: Social Media Executive / SEO Executive

£20 - 25K + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Social Media...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions