Once upon a time, getting discovered required being in the right place at the right time.  You wandered into Schwab’s, the Brown Derby, or some other old Hollywood landmark completely unaware, and the next thing you knew – BAM! – you were on your way to stardom. Today, the process is a little – okay, a lot – different.

At Mark Ramsey’s excellent hivio event last week, as we explored the ever-growing difficulty of finding new stars for broadcast radio, Mark introduced the room to one Andrea Russett.  She’s 18, and she’s from Fort Wayne, Indiana.  She’s not exactly making (or spending) millions in the name of network programming.

Oh, and three years ago, she was already creating content that drew eyeballs at a level on par with April’s season-debut numbers for Mad Men.


The Mad Men season premiere did 2.3 million viewers on AMC.  A teenager has maxed out at just under 2.8 million viewers on YouTube.  No kidding alert: the demos on Mad Men are worlds better than those on a teenager’s YouTube video.  The Mad Men product is infinitely more monetizable.  Those, however, are matters that will change over time.

And none of the above, by the way, even begins to touch the fact that Jenna Marbles has done 20 times those numbers and is closing in on 14 million YouTube subscribers.  (Of course, she’s about a decade older than Ms. Russett, so she’s had a little more time to perfect her craft.)  And yet, Jenna has nothing on the Swedish gamer who has double her subscriptions and about 4.7 billion – yes, billion with a b – YouTube views.

The real point is this: There is talent out there – lots of it – that knows how to grab audience attention on par with a legendary television product that has won seven primetime Emmys.  Not all of that talent, by the way, is young.  As I write this, a lot of that talent is performing today at sold out Citi Field in New York.

If you’re looking for talent that knows how to connect to an audience and create compelling content, I hope you’re not waiting to see whose agent calls you or who sends you their demo.  They’re out there, and not just on YouTube.

Go find them and monetize them before somebody else does – or before they figure out how to monetize themselves without sharing the profits with anyone else.

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