From online to a live show: Each year sees more local talent added to the YouTube FanFest

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EIGHT THOUSAND fans cheered as 10 local and four international YouTube “creators” gathered at the 4th YouTube FanFest Manila 2018 at the World Trade Center on May 11.

The YouTube FanFest — which began in 2014 and first came to Manila in 2015, drawing an audience of about 3,000 — is a one-day variety show where YouTube content creators showcase the skills and talents that made them popular on the online platform. This year’s lineup featured beauty and fashion vlogger Janina Vela, singer/songwriter Renee Dominique, the Merrell Twins who are actresses and dancers, travel vlogger Wil Dasovich, cosplayer Alodia Gosiengfiao, beauty vlogger Michelle Dy, entertainer Pamela Swing, hip hop dancer and choreographer Matt Steffanina, dancer Ranz Kyle and entertainer Niana Guerrero, singer/dancer AC Bonifacio, guitar player Sungha Jung, dancer D-trix, and comic and singer Mikey Bustos.

The FanFest first came to Manila thanks to the online engagement of fans posting with the hashtag #BringYouTubersToMNL. “It was a massive kind of movement that we had to respond to it. So that was what really brought it here, combined with the fact that it raised the awareness that there was a combination of incredibly intense and involved fan base, as well as, great creators who had great stories,” YouTube’s Director of Global Creator & Artist Development Chris Schremp told BusinessWorld shortly after a press conference at last week’s FanFest.

The show began with this year’s host Janina Vela’s performance of an original composition, “Unstoppable.” Ballads by Renee Dominique, Wil Dasovich and Alodia Gosiengfiao’s dance challenges, a dance number by beauty vlogger Michelle Dy, and Sungha Jung’s guitar solo were among this year’s performances.

The show has evolved to bring in more local talents every year.

“In the early days, there was a lot of non-Filipino talent here on the main stage. The biggest change for us is there is a lot of local talent [this year]. Filipino creators who started out small [and] who have grown to be big are now the ones hosting on the main stage,” Mr. Schremp said, adding that participating creators at the event are chosen based on online success, fanbase, and content diversity.

“You can tell that they started out just wanting to tell that story. Success has come because they’re so authentic.” Mr. Schremp said. “I think that they’re content is broadly appealable.”

As for future plans on the digital platform, Mr. Schremp said new features such as community tools on YouTube will be further developed for engagement between creators and their fans, as well as alternate monetization tools to generate revenue among content creators. — Michelle Anne P. Soliman