In YouTube’s golden era, video essays are winning over millennials.
Although approaches can vary, video essays typically feature a narrator who presents a thesis using still images, animations and video clips. Most videos
focus on some sort of cultural criticism, and many focus on film.
It’s a trend that marketers, PR pros and brand managers should keep an eye on.
In Honest Trailers, an essay produced by the YouTube channel Screen
Junkies, the creator criticizes a single movie. This is similar to a critic’s review in a newspaper or magazine column.
Some of the best video essays go beyond mere reviews and take an academic approach to cinematic criticism. For example, former MSNBC producer Evan Puschak
published The Evolution of Batman’s Gotham City to the YouTube channel The
Nerdwriter. This essay would have worked on the pages of The New York Times or Chicago Tribune, but Puschak’s use of images and video
adds an entirely new dimension to his argument.
This interactive format has made video essays more popular with younger consumers compared with their textual counterparts. He’s raised $2,400 per video on Patreon, which—given that he produces about one video per week—means he’s pulling
in more than most newspaper film critics, too.
Traditional newspapers have been laying off their film critics for years, and art criticism on radio or television networks has become even more scarce.
RELATED: WHITE PAPER: How to communicate with a millennial workforce.
Millions of YouTube users, many of whom are millennials, are subscribing to an art form that was once relegated to film snobs and art enthusiasts. Younger
consumers flock to YouTube because it’s accessible and feeds their appetite for immediate social media.
So, PR Daily readers, how might you tap into this burgeoning approach to post-journalism journalism?
Simon Owens is a tech and media journalist living in Washington, D.C. Connect with him on
. A version of this story originally appeared on