When Instagram transitioned from a reverse chronological feed to an algorithmically-derived one back in 2016, the move was met with widespread condemnation from both creators and users alike.
But now, Techcrunch reports, the photo and video platform may be looking to walk back its decision — slightly — with a new ‘Latest Posts‘ option. The prototype — meaning that the feature is not in beta testing but is likely being piloted by Instagram internally — was first spotted by Jane Manchun Wong, who has uncovered countless social media app updates (including, most recently, a monetization program prototype for IGTV) by reverse engineering their code.
According to Techcrunch, Latest Posts isn’t a full-fledged reverse-chronological feed option. Instead, it appears as a pop-up over a user’s primary feed, showcasing all the latest content in their network. In this respect, while parent company Facebook does offer users the ability to consume their News Feeds in reverse chronological order, the Latest Posts feature would instead serve to give Instagrammers a glimpse of what’s happening in any given moment.
Per screencaps obtained by Wong, a pop-up window states ‘Welcome Back’ and offers users the option to get caught up on 11 recent posts, with ‘See Posts’ and ‘Not Now’ options.
While Instagram has yet to budge on its commitment to a reverse-chronological feed since making the change — despite creator concerns that their posts were not being distributed and users angered by the prospect of missing out on content — it did subsequently roll out a ‘You’re All Caught Up‘ notification in July 2018. The notification shows up after users have scrolled past all of their followed contentin a 48-hour period. Before that, in March, Instagram rolled out two key updates to feeds, ensuring that newer posts would be more likely to appear first and adding a ‘New Posts‘ button enabling users to decide when they wanted to refresh.
You can check out screencaps of the ‘Latest Posts’ prototype, as uncovered by Wong, below:
Instagram is working on “Latest Posts” feed for catching up feed posts
Collins Key, one of the most colossal brand-friendly channels on all of YouTube — with 21 million subscribers and averaging roughly 100 million views per month — is following countless fellow kid-friendly digital stars into the lucrative toy business.
Moose Toys has been named the master global licensing partner for Key’s channel, which stars brothers Collins and Devan Key. The ensuing toy collection, bowing this fall, will feature challenge and DIY-inspired toys and activities — in keeping with the brothers’ snacky video content, and enabling viewers to recreate their games and same stunts at home. The collection will be supported at launch by a multi-tiered marketing campaign, Moose says, including national television, digital, and social campaigns, as well as in-store installments and partnerships with other influencers.
“[The Key brothers’] creativity and high energy will seamlessly extend through to the line and bring wildly entertaining challenges directly to the #KeyperSquad,” Joe Smith, Moose Toys’ director of global marketing for licensed brands, said in a statement. (#KeyperSquad is the name of the Key brothers’ fandom).
Australia-based Moose Toys designs, develops, and manufactures toys, having risen to prominence in 2014 with Shopkins — pint-sized characters based on grocery store items. In addition to the Key brothers, Moose has also pacted with other digital phenoms, including the India-based children’s channel ChuChu TV in 2018 to create a range of preschool-aimed dolls and plush toys.
Key, for his part, first rose to renown for his magic skills as a finalist on America’s Got Talent. And toys are not his first product offering for fans. He launched a merch collection — including graphic tees, hoodies, and phone accessories — back in 2018.
Welcome to YouTube Millionaires, where we profile channels that have recently crossed the one million subscriber mark. There are channels crossing this threshold every week, and each has a story to tell about YouTube success. Read previous installments of YouTube Millionaires here.
Some of TD‘s earliest memories involve gaming. He’s a lifelong fan–and not the only one in his family. When he first started watching YouTube videos, it was because he, his brother, and his dad were looking for ways to improve their Halo skills. But after learning how to level up, TD didn’t leave YouTube. Instead, he began following creators making videos about video games and his other passion: sports.
His first videos were collaborations with one of them–LostNUnbound. TD had an idea for a series that involved long-running football-focused video game franchise Madden, which updates each year to reflect all the actual real-life players currently in the NFL. He wanted to take the basic concept of board game Guess Who?and elevate it. He and LostNUnbound would each choose a player and, in turns of one question each, try to ferret out each other’s pick using football facts.
To TD’s surprise, the video amassed hundreds of thousands of views, inspired other creators to make their own versions, and resulted in a lot of comments asking the pair to make a second installment.
So they did. And another. And another.
And, four years later, they’re still making them. But that’s not the only content TD produces. He’s filled his channel (which, of course, recently crossed the one million subscriber mark) with gameplay videos about Madden and NBA 2K, along with unboxing-esque reveals of his latest loot pulls. He regularly uploads multiple videos per week, often about the games’ newest content, and it’s a strategy that has him pulling in between 5 and 10 million views per month.
At the beginning of this year, TD took some time off to deal with health issues, but now he’s getting back into the swing of things–and he has big plans for 2020.
Check them out below.
Tubefilter: How does it feel to hit one million subscribers? What do you have to say to your fans?
TD: It’s been over a month, and honestly, it still doesn’t even feel real yet. Maybe once I get my gold Play Button from YouTube, it will finally hit me. I want to tell my fans that I’m forever grateful for their support, and hopefully that when I hit milestones, it motivates them to work hard and chase their own dreams. If I can do it, you can too!
Tubefilter: Tell us a little about you! Where are you from? What did you do in ye olde days before YouTube?
TD: I grew up in the great state of Wisconsin. I spent a lot of time with my family, traveling all over for AAU basketball and, of course, gaming.
Tubefilter: How did you fall in love with gaming? What made you decide to bring that love to YouTube?
TD: I’ve played video games since I can remember, so it’s been my love since day one, lol. The game that took this to the next level was Halo. I remember going on YouTube and looking up hiding spots so my dad, my brother, and I could troll enemy teams. We would get up like five to three in a game of Team Slayer, and then hide for the rest of the time. The other team would never find us, and they would be so mad after the game. Those were definitely some of the best memories of my life and what introduced me to YouTube.
Tubefilter: We understand you’ve been having some pretty serious health issues, so sending you good vibes! In the times when you’re at your usual production level, what does an average day look like? Do you work on videos every day?
TD: I appreciate that! I’ve dealt with a blood disorder my entire life. Despite being an inconvenience, it has taught me to work through adversity and be thankful for the little things. On a normal day, I wake up in the morning, go to the gym with my roommate Walker, work on a video in the early afternoon, and then my nights are usually pretty free. I try to work on videos every day.
Tubefilter: How do you make your content stand out amid all the noise on YouTube?
TD: When I first started, I just wanted to give people something different to watch. I came up with a series idea called Madden Guess Who? I did this with another YouTuber named LostNUnbound, and it did extremely well. Also, instead of using the best teams like everyone else, I would do themed squad builders, challenges, and even incorporate myself playing the sport in real life.
Tubefilter: Is YouTube a full-time job for you?
TD: Yes. For the first two years, I wasn’t making much money from it, so I worked about 30 hours a week at Best Buy and spent probably another 40 hours a week on YouTube work. Once I got over 100,000 subscribers, I quit Best Buy to do YouTube full-time. I feel extremely lucky to call it my job.
Tubefilter: What’s your production process like? How long does the average video take you to make, from conception to posting?
TD: It really depends on what video I’m trying to do. I would say on average, about four to five hours. It takes me about 90 minutes to record, the editing process is usually a bit longer, and then I have to come up with a thumbnail and title. I enjoy the process, so I’ve never hired anyone to help me.
Tubefilter: What’s your favorite part of making content on YouTube?
TD: The messages I get from people saying I’ve helped make their days better. When I was growing up, if I ever had a bad day, I would go straight to YouTube to take my mind off things. I loved watching KSI and Miniminter, and I always wanted to create content to try and make people’s days a little bit better.
Tubefilter: How have you been growing your audience? Have you tweaked your content at all to attract viewers, or have you kept your content steady and figured that if you filmed it, viewers would come?
TD: I definitely tweaked my content over the years. I remember I was scared to show my face at first, but now I show my face in every single video. I think it’s important to be your own biggest critic and constantly try to improve.
Tubefilter: What’s next for you and your channel?
TD: I would say my goal is to work as hard as I can and post as much as I can. That being said, I don’t want to get complacent, and I want to push myself to post more IRL basketball videos, forfeits with Walker, challenges, and unique video ideas. I feel more motivated than ever, and want to show that in my work.
You can add yourself to the ranks of TD’s more-than-a-million YouTube subscribers at his channel YouTube.com/TDPresents.
Facebook Gaming has scooped up another star creator, but this time not from Twitch’s pool of talent. Its latest exclusive livestreaming deal is with preeminent martial artist and wrestler Ronda Rousey.
Rousey has a striking resume: she was the first American woman to earn an Olympic medal in judo, was the first woman to be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame (after becoming the company’s top mixed martial arts bantamweight champion), and is the only woman to win both a UFC and a WWE championship. She’s currently signed with WWE as a wrestler, and in between matches has featured in films like Furious 7 and released her first book, My Fight/Your Fight.
She’s maintained social media presences on Facebook (where she has 12 million followers), Instagram (12.8M), and Twitter (3.6M), but this partnership is her first stake in the livestreaming and gaming spaces. As has become common in post-Ninja Exodus signings, Rousey announced the deal with a video posted to her social channels.
Game streaming is one of the most authentic mediums,& the time is right for me to jump into the stream exclusively on FacebookGaming. My first stream is on Feb18th at 3pmPST–100% of proceeds from the first stream go to Australian bushfire recovery effortshttps://t.co/O9QlM8KkaKpic.twitter.com/pAHMWvhEkU
“Gaming has always been a huge part of my life, and I can’t wait to share that passion with my millions of fans on Facebook Gaming,” Rousey said in a statement. “I’m amazed how powerful our imaginations can be and how gaming encourages us to imagine what our reality could be instead of just accepting it for what it is–a skill that has helped me in my fighting and entertainment careers countless times.”
Rousey will host her debut stream here on Feb. 18 at 6 p.m. Eastern. She’ll donate all proceeds from that stream to Australian bushfire recovery efforts.
Though the Oscars are a one-night event, the glow lives on well beyond the award show via social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.
From Feb. 3 to Feb. 12, over 14,000 videos were published across social platforms about the 92nd Academy Awards. Together, those videos have netted 776 million views, according to video measurement company Tubular Labs. Though many of the top creators of Oscars video content were in line with expectations, there were a few surprises as well–just as there were on awards night.
The Academy itself was the top view-getter: the numerous videos it posted to Twitter earned a collective 37.8 million views. It was followed by the awards’ official broadcaster ABC (37.6 million), Variety (26.2 million), the Los Angeles Times’ Amy Kaufman (24.3 million), and ABC News (23.3 million), all of which also posted on Twitter. Kaufman attended the event to cover for the L.A. Times, and her own personal feed got more traction than the publication itself–an interesting wrinkle in coverage of the event.
Kaufman’s other Twitter videos, largely award show-foused, have had a significant number of viewers in the past. However, the video she tweeted this year about actress Natalie Portman‘s Dior cape (which Portman had embroidered with the names of female directors who weren’t nominated by the Academy), has brought more than 24.2 million views. That’s around 98% of Kaufman’s all-time Twitter view count.
Meanwhile, Fox’s Netherlands-based YouTube page (Fox Nederland) was among the top creators with 21 million views–most of them coming from a clip of rapper Eminem’s surprise rendition of “Lose Yourself.” Eminem actually wound up with five of the top 20 videos by views, as audiences were both confused and excited by the unannounced performance nearly two decades after the song won its Oscar from being included in Eminem-starring film 8 Mile.
Job search site Indeed was the lone brand among the top 20 creators for Oscars video content, and actually had the No. 2 video overall: Great moments are the work of many (13.7 million views on Twitter). Kaufman had the most-viewed single video overall, surely a nice bump for Dior’s brand. (It wasn’t involved in Kaufman’s video, but Portman is a spokersperson for the brand.)
South Korean director Bong Joon-Ho‘s class warfare drama Parasite swept past Joker and Once Upon a Time in Hollywoodto win Best Picture (and three other awards), but ended up being mentioned in just one of the top 10 videos–and just two of the top 25. Chief among those was E!’s video of the cast from the red carpet.
All five commissioners of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have voted to review how it handles digital influencers and sponsored content.
During the review, the agency intends to change three key things. First, it wants to turn its current guidelines for influencers and sponsored content into hard and fast rules so “violators can be liable for civil penalties,” commissioner Rohit Chopra wrote in an official statement.
To be clear, brands, ad agencies, and influencers who currently break the FTC’s guidelines can still in many cases be held legally accountable using the U.S.’s laws against deceptive advertising. They just can’t be punished solely using the FTC’s guidelines. If the FTC makes the change from guidelines to rules, that will give it the right to levy fines without involving laws.
Second, the FTC wants to develop requirements for social media platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok, as well as the advertisers that purchase marketing space on said platforms. What these requirements would address isn’t specified by the FTC, but Chopra did specifically call out Instagram’s Branded Content Ads–a feature added last year that lets advertisers independently pay to promote users’ posts–as something that concerns him.
“These paid promotions amplify the reach of an astroturf marketing campaign to a broader audience who may be unfamiliar with the influencer and even less likely to discern the commercial arrangement,” he wrote.” (As TechCrunchpoints out, Branded Content Ads are in compliance with the FTC’s guidelines; they are all labeled with an automatic, clear disclosure that says, “Sponsored. Paid partnership with [brand].”)
Chopra said the FTC is also considering “activating civil penalties” for platforms/advertisers that don’t follow new rules.
And third, the FTC wants to lay out an industry-wide set of requirements all brands must adhere to when working with influencers, “including sample terms that companies can include in contracts,” Chopra said.
We’ve written before about how the lack of industry standards and support can cause harm to creators who may be taken advantage of by brands–and that’s part of what the FTC seems concerned about, too. Chopra said that ultimately, individual influencers themselves aren’t “a cause for major concern.” This review and potential rule changes are really geared toward penalizing companies, particularly those that encourage influencers to flout the guidelines.
“If these companies are also pressuring influencers to post in ways that disguise that their review or endorsement is paid advertising, those advertisers especially need to be held accountable,” he wrote. “I am concerned that companies paying for undisclosed influencer endorsements and reviews are not held fully accountable for this illegal activity.”
Before the FTC moves forward with possibly making these changes, it’s calling for comment from the public about a variety of influencer-related topics, including whether people feel the current guidelines are generally effective and have impacted “the flow of truthful information to consumers,” whether they think children are capable of understanding disclosures, and whether influencers should have to post a disclosure when they only received free or discounted products from a company.
The call for comment was posted Feb. 12, and comments are being accepted here for 60 days.
This isn’t the only influencer-related call for comments the U.S. government has posted recently. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) revealed late last month that it’s also probing the world of digital influencers, especially those who advertise healthcare products. It’s planning to commence two studies about disclosures, both of which will zero in on how different kinds of disclosures affect viewers’ perception of sponsored content and opinion of the items being marketed. Comments on the proposed studies are being accepted here.
Condé Nast Entertainment (CNE), the division of the publisher that’s responsible for its video efforts, has launched new studios for several of its titles — including The New Yorker, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Wired, and GQ — to push further into mediums like film, TV, and podcasts.
The network of studios will expand to other titles in the future, the company said. In forming the network, CNE was advised by app-maker Whalerock and the illustrious talent agency WME.
“Condé Nast has already proven itself to be a true powerhouse in the digital video space, and the secret behind that has always been our world-class creators and brands,” CNE president Oren Katzeff said in a statement. “The studios will provide a crucial strategic framework — allowing us to bring our brands’ unparalleled storytelling and reporting to new mediums.”
Several projects at the aforementioned titles are already in the works. At The New Yorker, a film titled City Of A Million Soldiers — inspired by a 2017 article about an elite police squad of Iraqi soldiers fighting ISIS — will have its theatrical premiere on June 12. And Spiderhead is a forthcoming Netflix film based on a futuristic short story by George Saunders. Meanwhile, Vogue is readying an untitled series of documentaries about iconic fashion designers.
All told, CNE’s digital video offerings nabbed 13.3 billion views across all platforms last year. The company says it’s currently readying 65 film and TV projects, 175 digital pilots, and two brand new OTT channels.
Fine Brothers Entertainment (FBE), the multiplatform digital empire founded by brothers Benny and Rafi Fine, has added yet another YouTube channel to its growing portfolio.
The channel, dubbed Try Not To, is FBE’s first new YouTube channel in six years, and was spun off from a series on its React channel (12.5 million subscribers), on which participants of varying demographics react to noteworthy YouTube videos and other viral trends.
In the first episode of a new Try Not To series dubbed Ultimate Duel, for instance, four challengers are faced with clowns, hissing cockroaches, and boa constrictors — with whomever is able to keep their cool being crowned winner.
All told, FBE counts a total of 20 serialized shows that are viewed 300 million times per month. And the company has 45 million followers across all of its social platforms. Its latest outing is already picking up enormous speed, amassing roughly 350,000 subscribers since the first Try Not To video dropped three days ago. Additional episodes will drop every Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday.
“At FBE, we’re always looking for new ways to learn from and engage our audience,” Kyle Segal, Try Not To’s executive producer, tells Tubefilter. “On React, the format was performing so well, and fan demand was already so high,that spinning off a totally new channel was an obvious choice. We’re thrilled with our early progress and can’t wait to realize the format’s full potential.”
Semaphore, which offers a suite of business services for digital creators including accounting, tax prep, payroll, insurance, and brand deals, launched a new tier to its business in December dubbed Semaphore Licensing Solutions. The company, which works with 500 top YouTube stars, created the unit to help new-media creators nab extensive retail distribution for their consumer products licensing ventures.
And now, Semaphore Licensing Solutions has signed deals three YouTube stalwarts, with whom it is readying toy lines. The signings — of Braille Skateboarding, Trinity and Beyond, and SuperHero Kids — arrive ahead of Toy Fair 2020, a toy trade show that was founded in 1903 and is currently hosted at New York City’s Javits Center, where industry players convene to sell product, pitch and exchange ideas, and meet with their partners. All three of Semaphore’s just-signed channels will be making appearances at the event.
First up, Braille Skateboarding star Aaron Kyro (pictured above) — who counts 4.5 million subscribers and clocks roughly 22 million monthly views, thanks to videos that teach various skateboarding moves and tricks — will unveil his first-ever toy line. The range will comprise fingerboard blind bags (a fingerboard is a mini skateboard that users maneuver with their fingers, while a ‘blind bag’ refers to toys that remain a mystery until purchased). Braille Skateboarding will also launch skate ramps, playsets, and other mystery surprise sets. Semaphore is pacting with licensor Bonkers Toys on the products.
Bonkers, which has also worked with YouTube children’s luminary Ryan Kaji, has also been awarded the master license for Semaphore’s other two recent signees as well, who are developing toy lines of their own. This includes SuperHero Kids — a family channel with 4.4 million subscribers and 70 million monthly views that produces action and comedy content, and Trinity and Beyond (4.1 million subscribers and roughly 90 million monthly views) starring Trinity (who is six years old) and four-year-old sister Madison, who appear in scavenger hunts, slime pranks, and other kid-friendly skits and games.
“We’ve helped over five hundred top YouTube stars,” Semaphore founder and CEO Michael Bienstock said in a statement, “and with that experience, we’re able to create elevated opportunities for our ever-growing talent portfolio of new media creators as they scale their brands across a variety of verticals.”
YouTube is testing Viewer Applause, a new feature that’s similar to Twitch’s Cheer (with a few notable differences). At their core, both functions let viewers pay to applaud–and tip–creators to help them bring in revenue on top of ad dollars.
On Twitch, viewers must Cheer using onsite currency Bits, which can be bought in packages starting at 100 for $1.40. A viewer can choose how many Bits to tip a creator, and when they Cheer, an emoticon will pop up in that creator’s chat showing how much the viewer gave. Creators who are Cheered can cash out Bits received at a rate of $1 per 100–meaning Twitch makes $0.40 on the sale of 100 Bits.
YouTube will likewise take a cut of Viewer Applause earnings; however, it won’t make users buy onsite currency, and won’t let them choose the amount they donate with each clap. Instead, those enrolled in the test–viewers of select creators who live in the U.S., Australia, Brazil, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico, or New Zealand–are all paying the same flat fee in real-world currency per clap. When a viewer uses Audience Applause, they’ll see a clapping emoji pop up over the livestream or video they applauded. That emoji is shown only to the viewer, not publicly.
Claps currently cost $2 U.S. each, The Vergereports. YouTube told the outlet it is taking 30% of the fee, the same cut it takes from Super Chats and Super Stickers.
That doesn’t mean viewers can only send creators $2, though. Users can send many claps to the same creator if they want to tip more, but there is an ultimate limit: YouTube’s official Help page for Viewer Applause says users can spend up to $500 U.S. per day or $2,000 per week total on Viewer Applause, Super Chats, and Super Stickers combined.
You can see Viewer Applause do its thing in this YouTube video from analytics firm vidIQ:
There’s one more important difference between Twitch’s feature and YouTube’s: Twitch’s Cheer can only be used on livestreams, but Viewer Applause can be used on livestreams and uploaded videos. That makes it YouTube’s first video-specific monetization tool that isn’t AdSense-related.
It’s not clear how many creators currently have access to the test. YouTube did tell The Verge this is a “very early test,” so it’s possible Viewer Applause won’t roll out for some time.
YouTube’s livestream-focused monetization features are those mentioned above–Super Chats and Super Stickers (which is similar to Twitch’s Emotes). Both features let viewers send messages to be displayed prominently in a creator’s livestream. When it released Super Stickers, YouTube said channels with Super Chats enabled have been clocked making as much as $400 per minute.
As for non-livestream monetization, YouTube offers Channel Memberships (a Patreon-esque feature where subscribers pay a certain amount per month for access to extra material) and merch partnerships with companies like Teespring.