Back for another year, NZ Marketing has selected the best of the bunch in the media business. While the editorial team put their heads together to figure out who and what came out on top for the judges' choice, our avid StopPress readers with their fingers on the pulse cast 11,293 votes to decide the People's Choice winners.
Nominees: Tom Sainsbury, Jordan Watson, Tim Batt, Toby Morris, Alex Casey, Madeleine Sami & Jackie van Beek, Roseanne Liang, The Alternative Commentary Collective, William ‘Waiirua’ Cribb, Gerard Johnstone
When watching people play video games has become just as popular as playing video games, it’s hard to deny Viva La Dirt League the win for its gaming-related content.
Can you explain Viva La Dirt League?
Viva La Dirt League, by Adam King, Rowan Bettjeman and Alan Morrison, is a New Zealand skit comedy YouTube channel. We make funny online videos about video games, movies and TV shows. Currently, we do three videos per week. On Mondays, we make Epic NPC Man, about a self-aware computer character living in a fantasy video game. Wednesdays is PUBG Logic, where we make fun of the game logic of the hottest battle royal game PUBG. Then on Friday, we have Bored, a crazy sitcom web series about four people working in a tech store and the crazy hijinks they get up to.
When/how did it start?
It started over ve years ago when a bunch of mates realised that they have two things in common: a love for video games, and a love for making films. Initially, we did parody music videos about just one video game: 'Starcraft'. They were made on and o over a few years. It wasn't until two years ago when we made a commitment to making three videos per week that the popularity of the channel started to explode.
Did you expect it to be what it is today?
Obviously, there was always the hope that we would be able to grow the channel to something as successful as it is now - but they were always dreams. It is so heart-warming to see the amount of people who absolutely love our content, and enjoy being part of our community of like-minded nerds. Even if we had thought we'd get mega famous - I don't think we would have ever realised that we would have this much fun doing it, and that we would have such a cool community. Our ethos is 'empowering the nerd' so we've recently come up with a new slogan which is 'Nerds United'. We think it encapsulates the channel really well, and it is something we want our channel and our content to showcase.
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome?
It's very hard to get noticed online. We do a lot of trial and testing with the content of our videos, and how we put them out into the online space. We have a lot of failures, but we are lucky that with three videos every week we can learn from those mistakes and make the next video better. Across this time, we've had a lot of videos go 'viral' - but in truth, there is no exact formula. It really is up to how the people on the internet are feeling on a particular day when you release something. It could go wildly successful when you didn't think it would - or completely tank when you thought you'd done everything right.
Who watches it?
For the most part, our audience are nerds. We have a large skew towards men aged 18-35, but also a loyal following of women too. They are nerds through and through. Loving video games, manga, cosplay, memes, tech, board games, TV shows and movies. The internet is the perfect place for our content and an awesome place to grow such a cool community.
What’s your advice for others with ideas for video series?
The advice we give is always about audience. Think long and hard about them. Know your audience, know where your audience is, know how your audience consumes content online. Then think about how your content is going to appeal to them. Online is all about niche audiences - mainstream doesn't exist. Everyone is served up content on every platform based on keywords of interest. If you can't describe your content using interesting keywords - then it's never going to find its audience online.
People’s choice: Alternative Commentary Collective