Aug 26, 2017

How YouTube celebs became the new TV idol

Vince Bucci, Metropolitan Museum of Art / AP

Long gone are the days and influence of television stars like Raven Simone, Hillary Duff and Miley Cyrus — today YouTube celebrities like Smosh and PewDiePie and social media wizards like Gigi and Bella Hadid or Kendall and Kylie Jenner have captivated younger audiences.

Why it matters: HBO, Disney, Nickelodeon, Netflix, Amazon Prime and YouTube are all fighting to win over young viewers to their streaming services. In the past, Disney and Nickelodeon captured the youngest audiences and produced the hottest tween celebrities. But with the trends toward streaming and Gen Z watching less TV in general, according to Nielson, the game has changed.

The stats:

  • 95% of Generation Z uses YouTube — making it the most used app, Axios' Sara Fischer reported.
  • 19% of respondents from Generation Z listed YouTube celebrities as role models, according to a survey by Nickelodeon. YouTube stars were a less popular choice than mom (78%), dad (58%) and grandparents (26%), but out-ranked teachers (18%).
  • 95% of Gen Z respondents in a Defy Media survey said they couldn't live without YouTube. Instagram was the second most necessary social media app with 69%.
  • Adweek listed Gen Z's top influencers, which included Gigi and Bella Hadid, Amandla Stenberg, Fifth Harmony and Shawn Mendes, almost all of whom leveraged social media to reach their celebrity influencer status.


  • Disney Channel and Freeform have lost around 4 million subscribers in the past three years. Disney Channel's ratings among 2-11 and 6-14 year olds fell 23% in prime time between January and June, according to SNL Kagan. This is partly due to streaming some of their content on Netflix. However the company plans on pulling from Netflix to start their own streaming service in 2019.
  • Nickelodeon has also seen numbers drop. Between 2013 and 2015, Nick at Nite lost 28.1% of its viewers, including 541,000 of its 2-17 year old viewers, according to Nielson. Nickelodeon also has been streaming its content on Amazon Prime, and also has it's children's shows on Noggin, a subscription streaming service for kids.
  • With Freeform — formerly ABC Family — viewership was down 25% in the 12-17 year old category for those same months, and the 18-34 age group dropped 20%.

What's missing: What we don't know is how Disney and Nickelodeon shows perform on popular streaming services because Netflix, Amazon and Hulu keep their viewership numbers confidential.

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The year of the protest meets the year of the lockdown

Hong Kong demonstrators protest a government ban on face masks in October. Photo by Laurel Chor/Getty Images

The year of the mass uprising has collided with the year of the coronavirus lockdown, leaving protest movements around the world stalled. 

The big picture: The enduring images of 2019 are of protest — from Hong Kong to Khartoum, across the Middle East and through much of Latin America. Seemingly overnight, though, social distancing has made such mass demonstrations almost unthinkable.

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 665,164 — Total deaths: 30,852 — Total recoveries: 140,225.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 124,665 — Total deaths: 2,191 — Total recoveries: 1,095.
  3. Federal government latest: President Trump announces new travel advisories for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, but rules out quarantine enforcement. Per the CDC, residents of those states must now "refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days," with the exception of critical infrastructure industry workers.
  4. State updates: Alaska is latest state to issue a stay-at-home order — New York is trying to nearly triple its hospital capacity in less than a month and has moved its presidential primary to June 23. Some Midwestern swing voters who backed Trump's handling of the virus less than two weeks ago are balking at his call for the U.S. to be "opened up" by Easter.
  5. World updates: In Spain, over 1,400 people were confirmed dead between Thursday to Saturday.
  6. 🚀 Space updates: OneWeb filed for bankruptcy amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
  7. Hollywood: Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson have returned to U.S. after being treated for coronavirus.
  8. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Coronavirus updates: Global death toll tops 30,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

The novel coronavirus has now killed more than 30,000 people around the world — with Italy reporting over 10,000 deaths, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: The number of deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S. surpassed 2,000 on Saturday. The United States leads the world in confirmed coronavirus infections — more than 124,000 by early Sunday. The number of those recovered from the virus in the U.S. passed the 1,000-mark on Saturday evening.

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