Australia’s hottest YouTube stars

THEY’RE the first to admit they’d never make it in the conservative, looks-obsessed world of traditional television, but that’s just the way Australia’s latest crop of YouTube stars likes it.

Internet celebrities Jason Pinder, Theo Saidden and Louna Maroun host some of the top rating channels on Boom Video, Australia’s first YouTube partner network – best described as a cross between online video and cable TV.

In five months Boom has amassed a huge following of more than 1.2 million subscribers, and hosts 250 separate channels screening everything from cooking shows to comedies and parenting programs – and its stars are raking in the ad dollars.

simple cooking channelPinder, a former counsellor from the New South Wales Central Coast, has more than 125,000 subscribers to his “Simple Cooking” channel where videos regularly rack up tens of thousands of views – his most popular is a lesson in how to make gummy bears, watched more than 3.5 million times.

The 41-year-old, who is married with a newborn daughter, regularly scores sponsorship and product placement deals from brands like San Remo and Schick and makes enough advertising revenue to run the channel as a full-time job.”

When it comes to TV you’re bound by certain criteria and what advertisers and stations are looking for but on YouTube you can do what you want to a degree, and if you invite advertisers to come on board they’re more flexible,” he said.

“I try to stay away from any (brand) that I don’t feel is really relevant, but it’s a good way for advertisers to get noticed, and for me to get a bit of remuneration for it as well.

louna maroun“YouTube is also a full-time job for Melbourne musician Louna Maroun, 25, who has almost 116,000 subscribers across her three channels of comedy sketches, original songs and beauty tutorials.

Such is her popularity online the Lebanese Australian, who still lives at home with her parents, recently struck a deal with Disney to promote Tim Burton film “Frankenweenie” in a zombie-themed video.

“I’m also working on a couple of others that aren’t confirmed yet, a couple of makeup brands and mobile phone brands,” she said.

“I take the journey as it comes and if all these opportunities exist through doing what I’m doing then that’s great, but because I love what I’m doing I would still continue to do it regardless.

superwog“Sydney paralegal Theo Saidden, 25, typically scores more than 400,000 views on the ethnic sketch comedy videos he makes with his brother Nathan, 23, but acknowledges their Boom channel “Superwog” would never get a timeslot on national TV.

“There’s a massive filtration process that goes on in mainstream media that doesn’t really allow ethnics that look like my brother and I to appear on TV,” he said.

“We both joined an extras agency and every job we got was related to crime, holding a gun, doing drugs, it was always playing these stereotypes on TV which is ironic because then I turn around and say `we’re going to do our own thing and see how it goes’ and people like our stuff.

“It’s funny, the top YouTubers in Australia, they’re mostly ethnic, but if you look at the top stars in mainstream TV you’d be hard pressed to find one wog.”

Despite their humour being controversial by mainstream TV standards, the duo still makes a living from advertising sponsorship, and have sold out three upcoming live shows at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and Sydney’s Enmore Theatre.

With more Aussies now watching TV with one eye on their smartphone and on-demand video becoming more popular, Boom client services director James Crick says YouTube is now a viable career option for people who wouldn’t otherwise have a chance on traditional TV.

“People are viewing YouTube more and more as an alternative destination for premiere content, and so more and more people are seeing YouTube as a place to have a career – not just to start a career, but to maintain one,” he said.

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