How young people are reinventing television on social networks

Published on Dec 9 2023 at 11:27

Young people may no longer watch television, but part of what they consume on Youtube looks a lot like it. Especially when this content is projected on the living room screen…

Driving this rapprochement, the new generation of video media and YouTubers draws part of its inspiration from the clics of the small screen, with professionalism and significant resources which give them the means to compete with television channels in terms of quality and audience.

YouTuber Seb la Frite, who has been filming himself in his bedroom for more than ten years, filmed a third documentary this summer, with adventurer Mike Horn, in Greenland. The previous one, in Kyrgyzstan, mobilized a team of up to 40 people for eighteen days of filming, for a 1 hour 13 minute format which has had 3.8 million views since its release on YouTube in April. Financed by brands interested in the 18-24 year old target, this type of loss-making project serves as a “showcase”, according to Francis Leduc, the YouTuber’s partner within their production company Olibrius. A way of establishing the credibility of the company, which is discussing other projects with platforms and linear broadcasters.


“We have clearly seen a professionalization of the ecosystem,” confirms YouTube’s communications manager, Charles Savreux, both through greater means and technology, which democratizes quality production. More than 20 million French people watch YouTube on their connected screen. A use which favors longer formats with a production quality worthy of the name.

The young media Le Crayon has taken up another genre, the debate show. This young start-up founded during the Covid-19 pandemic by four friends now aged 22 to 26, and which has 25 employees, claims the influence of “Tonight (or never!)” by Frédéric Taddeï, “Tout the world is talking about it” by Thierry Ardisson and “We are not lying” by Laurent Ruquier. “Our sources of inspiration for creating intelligent and mainstream entertainment,” confides the president of Le Crayon, Wallerand Moullé-Berteaux.

With a different recipe. First, a form of simplicity – no interruption every two minutes for a column, an editorial or a joke, he illustrates. Next up, another type of guest. “Having written a book is a less good argument for coming to us than having a developed YouTube channel,” he says.

Claimed inspiration

Finally, a shift from current events, allowing a longer lifespan. This week, a debate filmed two years ago on inclusive writing accumulated 10,000 views in two days. “Today, on YouTube, many creators think of their content as a catalog, in a form of ‘Netflixization’ of show creation,” observes Wallerand Moullé-Berteaux. Profitable thanks to its brand content activity, this media, which has more than 70 million videos viewed per month, raised 1 million euros in September from business angels such as Xavier Niel and Pierre-Edouard Stérin.

“With the rise of TikTok, the formats have split a little in two, on one side short vertical videos facing the camera, on the other the long format,” observes Jérémie Nacache, the co-founder of Explore Media, who will reach one billion views in 2023.

This video media specializing in cultural and scientific educational content, whose team of 36 employees has an average age of 27 years, has for its part notably developed a type of educational videos lasting around twelve minutes, the Atlas , which is similar, with the codes of social networks, to Arte’s “Dessous des Cartes”. “We didn’t copy it as such, but there is a dose of inspiration,” recognizes the marketing director, Maximilien Devay.


The news, treated in a very embodied way in the traditional formats of decryption, interview or report, by YouTubers like HugoDecrypts, Gaspard G or a company like Views on fashion and culture, does not escape this reappropriation. “We do not claim to reinvent formats, it is rather the processing that makes us different,” underlines Léo Devaux, twenty-seven years old, co-founder of Views, which has 33 employees and has exceeded one billion views in 2023 on all social networks. “The natural use of the codes of our generation, the pace of editing, the choice of personalities interviewed, the questions asked, the references, mean that a report on Views does not resemble a report on TF1,” he believes. he.

Finally, in entertainment, traditional channels find strong competitors in YouTube and Twitch. Games from YouTuber Squeezie, with fun concepts like “Who is the imposter?” » where celebrities have to find out which participant is lying, almost every time exceed 10 million views. As a reminder, the threshold for entry into the annual Top 100 TV audiences is only 6 million viewers…

This success is watched with interest and envy by the world of television. “YouTubers can have an idea in the morning and do it the same evening, whereas on television a concept will take more than a year to come to fruition. The relationship to decision-making is divided by 1,000,” sighs a professional in the sector. We will probably have to learn to go faster…

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