Public relations thoughts: Oh My Vlog launches

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As we seem to say time and time again, here at Smoking Gun PR, arguably the country’s most ingenious, straight-talking public relations agency, digital firm and home for social media experts, we’re in the business of keeping abreast with all things going on in the media.
Which is why the launch of a brand new, one-of-a-kind magazine was never going to pass by our watchful eyes unnoticed.
There’s a saying in the industry these days. Or, more accurately, there should be. Anyone who starts a brand new print title in 2015 is either very clever, very crazy, or intent on taking the whole Not For Profit idea to the next level. The press has always been a competitive sector, but with falling circulation figures, subscription numbers and- in turn- advertising rates, even if you have a quality product people want to read there’s every chance things might not work out.
In recent years we could think of countless examples of titles that should have, deserved to, but didn’t quite work out when the budgets were fully analysed. And the number of fresh faces emerging on the scene seems to be in perpetual decline, save for a few hyper-niche areas.
Enter Oh My Vlog!, then, a brand spanking new magazine that’s set to hit Britain’s shelves, which, it just so happens, appears to have upset certain areas of the media without really meaning to.
But first, here’s what we’re talking about.
From the colourful, somewhat Disney Channel-looking cover pictured above you might assume this was a re-reading of Just 17, or some other teen rag. In many ways it is. For those uninitiated, a Vlog is a video-blog, usually hosted on YouTube, and usually curated (and presented) by people who have a fair few years to go before they catch up with you and I. Their areas of specialism range from make-up tips to computer games, youth politics to just about anything else you can think of. And they mean business.
So much so Glamour Magazine ran this list back in February of the Vlogging You Tube Stars you need to watch out for, and the last Guardian Media 100 list– featuring the 100 most influential ‘media people’- saw some vloggers ranking higher than senior news editors and group owners. Moreover, the Advertising Standards Agency has introduced stricter guidelines on the relationship between vloggers and brands, basically stating there must be clear labelling when video content has been sponsored, as a direct reaction to the amount of money these modern day online stars can make when they put their minds to things.
Explanation over, from a public relations perspective, clearly vloggers represent a whole range of new opportunities that we’d be wise to look into. Less obvious is the opportunity these semi-pro broadcasters offer to the magazine industry and publishers, although perhaps not if you’re the people responsible for Oh My Vlog!, the new title heading towards newsstands that aims to arm readers with everything they needed and ever wanted to know about making it big in the world of vlogging.
It represents a strange u-turn of mediums. By nature, a vlog is an online-only construct, but then here we are being advised on how to create a successful incarnation, via an offline product (a magazine). But there are more talking points than that alone, as has been proven today by a series of articles and tweets expressing grave concerns over what this launch means for society…
“Do you ever look at something and have the sudden realisation that your simple human brain cannot comprehend it? A magic trick, a dog standing on two legs, an impossible Jenga tower: the ordinary, jolted just two or three degrees out of kilter, until it is wrong, somehow, unreal, disconcerting. Related: here’s the cover of a new youth-centric YouTuber magazine, Oh My Vlog!
So says Joel Golby, staff writer at the ever-irreverent Vice, in his article There Is A New YouTuber Magazine Called Oh My Vlog! and It Makes Me Feel a Thousand Years Old.
Meanwhile, here’s what Hannah Flint, at Metro, thinks about it all:
“Who said print journalism was dead, eh?”
Paul Lang, a magazine pro involved in the launch, responded on Twitter…
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In contrast, Complex decided to abstain from any real judgement and simply reported on the reactions, embedding some tweets surrounding the launch. The best of which are probably…
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There is, of course, an interesting way to read this situation. Vloggers are the stars of a new generation’s entrainment network. And, whilst you may not have heard of (m)any, there’s no denying those with high numbers of followers (i.e. in the millions) are celebrities of sorts. As such a magazine dedicated to their thoughts, ideas, plans and relationships is surely no different to a TV magazine, a music title or general celebrity publication.
Maybe the Complex headline hits the nail on the head, then; There’s a New Magazine About YouTube Vloggers, and Old People Can’t Understand It. Maybe not.
So, what do you think- is this a flash in the pan disaster in the making that won’t make it past issue four, or is Oh My Vlog! about to make a fool of its critics and prove the tweeters wrong?
Answers on a stamped, addressed postcard please. Or, if you fancy doing something a bit more fitting, why not make a video and post it to YouTube telling everyone where you stand.