Chefs, DJs, teachers: the rise of the lockdown celebrity

At 9 a.m. every day in the UK, hundreds of thousands of children stand in front of the TVs in their living rooms to jump like kangaroos or learn to make boards while fitness instructor Joe Wicks takes – and often their parents – to the test.

On Monday, the first day of the country lockout, Mr. Wicks’ exercise class drew approximately 869,000 live viewers. By Tuesday, the number had climbed to almost 1 meter, and its popularity was spread around the world by interspersing its easy exercises with shouts to children from New York to Jamaica.

Now nicknamed “the nation’s physical education teacher,” Mr. Wicks has doubled his YouTube subscriber count, where some of his posts on the video platform now count more than 4 million times and have won her name as one of the stars of the coronavirus crisis.

“It’s a little fun, a little silly at a time when people are stressed and worried,” said Wicks, speaking from his home in West London. “I am the busiest man in the world. I am so excited. . . It’s incredible. I’m a TV channel! “

While celebrities and influencers traditionally broadcast ambitious fashion and travel content, now with travel bans in place and no dress events, social media platforms are producing more stars everyday : DJs broadcast live from their rooms, teachers organize lessons on YouTube and chefs broadcast cooking tutorials on Instagram Live.

Mr. Wicks is one of a new group of people who have accumulated massive global online follow-ups and family name status in recent weeks as millions of people confined to their homes seek entertainment, entertainment, escape and education online.

For many, the new influence provides them with a solid footing in the lucrative $ 8 billion influencer market, with social media platforms offering a growing range of ways to generate income. These include creating sponsored content for businesses for a fee, which can run into thousands of dollars, or even accepting advice – a feature that Instagram plans to introduce.

“There’s a change in the content of online influencers,” said Scott Guthrie, consultant at Luxmoore Consulting and co-chair of influence marketing panel at the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, citing cooking, fitness and humor as the most popular categories for individuals. search for a feeling of “community” at a time of social distancing.

Income shake

While social platforms have faced serious ad headwinds during the recent downturn as marketers cut budgets amid fierce new economic pressures, they have also reported unprecedented traffic spikes .

On Tuesday, for example, Facebook said in a blog post that users had spent 70% more time on its apps in Italy since the start of the crisis, while Instagram and Facebook Live views in the country had doubled in one week.

Some platforms respond to the “new normal” by trying to generate new sources of income from influencer activity – a measure that could help offset the financial blow felt by popular creators including regular brand sponsors retreat in the middle of the crisis.

Instagram is exploring ways to allow users to tip influencers on its platform, sources close to the plans told the Financial Times.

Michelin-starred chef Massimo Bottura in his home kitchen prepares his world famous al pesto pasta © Filippo Bardazzi for FT

Meanwhile, Twitch announced Tuesday that it will join the Bandsintown event site to allow musicians to monetize live performances via paid subscriptions and online advice. Patreon, which allows artists to charge “subscribers” for a subscription to their live broadcasts, said it had picked up 30,000 new creators in the first three weeks of March alone.

As quarantined households try to stay healthy, fitness gurus are quickly becoming the most notable winners on social media. The topic is currently the main viewer on YouTube, while in the UK this month, the number of views of home exercise videos increased by more than 200% compared to the daily average in January and February of this year.

But the educational content – generally virtual lessons taught by teachers loosely – has also gained ground: 24,000 people have expressed their interest in a Facebook “Spellathon” broadcast live on Friday by a teacher based in Leighton Buzzard wearing the English name with Holly.

Meanwhile, global views of cooking shows are skyrocketing, increasing by about 45% in the first three months of 2020 compared to the same period last year, according to YouTube. Michelin-starred chef Massimo Bottura, for example, organized a show called Kitchen quarantine Every evening at 8 p.m. on Instagram TV since its famous restaurant Modena Osteria Francescana was forced to close earlier this month. The videos have been streamed hundreds of thousands of times.

Spontaneous stars

Supporters argue that the new class of influencers can strengthen the reputation of the industry, which is often criticized for its shallowness as well as for attracting fraudsters who pay for fake subscriptions.

Young people are even starting to view influencers as “a reliable source of information,” said Guthrie. The World Health Organization and the UK Department for International Development have teamed up with influencers on Instagram, TikTok and YouTube to spread messages about social distancing, hand washing and the detection of misinformation Covid-19, for example.

“People are turning to [influencers] in difficult times; it justifies the value they can have, ”said Neil Waller, CEO and co-founder of influencer marketing agency Whalar.

However, bad behavior has emerged among more opportunistic operators, including some wellness influencers who have disseminated harmful information about anti-virus supplements or exploited the pandemic to sell high-priced products and services.

Some believe that influencers will be relatively isolated from the general downturn in advertising because their content is cheap and easy to produce. Sponsored content has “agility and adaptability,” said Waller, adding: “In other forms, it would take longer to shoot again.”

For now, however, some of the more spontaneous coronavirus stars say they focus only on building online communities as a hobby, rather than creating money.

“You rediscover old books, old records, the pleasure of cooking for your family. This is an opportunity for us to build something special, which is why we are doing it, ”said Chief Bottura.

“The virus took everything from us, except free time and technology.”

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