YouTube drama channels have been rising in popularity over the past year, with many channels getting millions of views and hosts making a steady income from it. Do you have what it takes to traverse this rising and sometimes brutal phenomenon to create your own YouTube drama channel?
by Jason Miller
There has been nothing like YouTube in the history of communication. Titans of the printing age William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer pale in comparison when it comes to sheer influence. YouTube reaches almost a third of the human race. And like Hearst and Pulitzer, influencers in the YouTube community are beginning to wake up to the realization that sensationalism and gossip not only make great headlines, they get viewers. Drama YouTube channels have become increasingly more popular over the past year. Depending on your perspective and moral outlook, this is either a natural extension of YouTube, essentially continuing the long and storied tradition of gossip news and sensationalist headlines or, like PewDePie, you see it as a degradation of what makes YouTube great, pitting YouTube influencers against each other for the next scandalous clickbait headline.
DRAMA CHANNELS WORK BECAUSE THEY COMBINE OUR LOVE FOR THE DRAMATIC WITH OUR LUST FOR CELEBRITIES.
Either way, drama channels work because they combine our love for the dramatic and our lust for celebrities. Think about it: How many times have you clicked a link because the headline said something shocking about a celebrity? This is the same thing. Whatever your perspective, these channels are only becoming more popular, and many want to cash in on it.
What is YouTube Drama?
A YouTube drama channel is exactly what it sounds like, a channel where the focus is drama from YouTube influencers as well as other celebrities. They are essentially the E! or TMZ of YouTube, but much less formal, and very much in the tradition of YouTube vlogging. Each channel is usually centered around a personality who reports on and gives perspective on the dramatic happenings of YouTube celebrities. Often this includes calling them out on things they have done or said on their channels, social media or in real life. For many drama channels, trolling can be a big part of it — for good reason, but more on that later.
The most popular YouTube drama channel and possibly its most controversial is DramaAlert hosted by Keemstar. Keemstar is more aligned with the angry comments section of a social media post or the darker corners of Reddit than more traditional types of dramatic channels such as Philip Defranco. Defranco is similar to a traditional media outlet and does his best to give context, perspective and reason to his videos. Other influences such as Here For The Tea and Sanders Kennedy take a very informal vlog approach to what is otherwise very much like tuning into TMZ or E!. For perspective, as of writing this article, DramaAlert has approximately 1.8 million subscribers, Philip Defranco has about 5.4 million.
What makes a good YouTube Drama channel?
A YouTube drama channel is just like any other channel on YouTube; what makes it good comes down to just a few essentials. The most important of these is content. Always. It doesn’t matter if you are producing a drama channel or a cooking channel, what you put out there can’t just be watchable. It must be entertaining and engaging and give the viewing something they can’t find elsewhere. With a drama channel, personality is hugely important. Like with vlogging, the viewers connect to the host; they tune in not just because of what you are saying but who you are. The host is someone the viewer would want to hang out with because that is essentially what they are doing for the duration of the video. By personality, I don’t just mean the flamboyant persona of the on air personality, but the perspective and viewpoint of the channel. Just reporting that XYZ happened isn’t enough; it’s your take on it that makes the difference.
WHILE PERSONALITY IS SUPER IMPORTANT, CLEAR STORYTELLING IS VITAL.
While personality is super important, clear storytelling is vital. Many would-be influencers make the mistake of just turning their camera on and ranting, then hoping for the best. Your reporting needs to be clear and easily digestible. I specifically used the word reporting because that is exactly what you are doing, reporting on events that have transpired and then adding your editorial take. Just like any other reporting, research and planning are both necessary.
Jump in the mud or stay above the fray?
As stated before, some YouTube Drams channels can become brutal, even trollish, by going after other influencers or taking a controversial position. While some influencers decide to keep it classy, others are just as interested in making headlines as they are in reporting them. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, again depending on your moral persuasion. Trolling and feuding with other YouTubers, specifically celebrity influencers, can get you attention and earn your gossip channel some legitimacy. After DramaAlert went after PewDePie, YouTube’s most watched celebrity, PewDePie shot back — giving DramaAlert more recognition than before, legitimizing him in the process. Don’t venture out into nastiness without careful consideration, however. The internet can be brutal and unforgiving, and not everyone has the stomach to be the next Keemstar.
Regardless of whether you want to jump into the ring and hurl mud at other YouTubers or just want to report on the drama surrounding YouTube and its stars, a drama channel can be a really fun hobby or career if you’ve got what it takes. Just take warning: If you choose to start a YouTube drama channel, those reporting on the fray are also often the targets of it. If you don’t already have skin like a crocodile, you better grow some because it can be an unforgiving jungle out there.