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
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Guru Careers: Lead Systems Developer / Software Developer

COMPETITIVE + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A Lead Systems Developer / Sof...

Recruitment Genius: Social Media & Engagement Manager - French or German Speaker

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: The world's leading financial services careers...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Marketing Executive - 6 Months Contract

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Digital Marketing Executive...

Guru Careers: Account Manager / Senior Account Manager

40-45K DOE + Benefits: Guru Careers: An Account Manager / Senior Account Manag...

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future