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YouTube Stars More Calculated Than They Seem

First Posted: 02/20/2012 7:47 am Updated: 04/21/2012 5:12 am

LOS ANGELES (AP) — YouTube has committed $100 million to 96 new video channels and has recruited top Hollywood talent to produce content. But the Google-owned site's talent search is far from complete. Fancy yourself a filmmaker?

Here are a few tips on how to make it big on the world's biggest video platform.

SUBSCRIBERS, SUBSCRIBERS, SUBSCRIBERS

YouTube's design changes mean that getting on the most-viewed list isn't the ticket to stardom that it once was. That "Evolution of Dance" video that was YouTube's most-watched clip for ages wouldn't cut it in the new YouTube world.

Now, it's all about getting people to subscribe to your videos. That means fans will know when you post a new video, which often translates to automatic views. Maker Studios cofounder Danny Zappin says most of a video's views now occur in the first few weeks after release because subscribers have been waiting for them.

MAKE IT GOOD

High-quality videos do better than slap-dash ones. That's why Peter "NicePeter" Shukoff spends weeks researching each episode of "Epic Rap Battles of History" before getting in front of the camera.

Shukoff and partner Lloyd "Epic Lloyd" Ahlquist create videos that feature historic figures such as Benjamin Franklin, Shakespeare, and Genghis Kahn, debating — and berating — one another in hip-hop-inspired verse. The two creators use sampled beats from around the world, and craft their rap lyrics with mind-boggling precision.

You know the "p-brane" referred to in the first season's smackdown between Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking? It's actually a multi-dimensional theoretical particle in the world of physics. Shukoff knew the reference would tickle some viewers, and it did.

"When you have an audience that big, there's a lot of different kinds of people and a lot of different levels of understanding," he says.

TIME RELEASES WELL

Many successful YouTube channel operators time their videos to hit the Web in the same way that an episodic series airs on regular television. Ray William Johnson puts up a new video every Tuesday and Friday. When he's not there, he finds someone to fill in.

Maker's Zappin also recommends not uploading new videos in the wee hours or early in the morning. Many YouTube fans are young, watching on mobile phones. "If you upload too early, they're in school, so they may or may not see it," he says.

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Filed by Ramona Emerson  |