Major entertainment companies have woken up to the allure of online influencers. Hulu has teased a preview of its upcoming show about the family of TikTok superstars Charli and Dixie D’Amelio. ABC is developing a reality competition from Venture 10 Studio Group called “#FollowMe,” where aspiring online stars participate in various challenges. And Netflix announced it’s producing an unscripted series about the TikTok Hype House, although without some of its early members.
Why the rush? Unlike Facebook and Snapchat, ABC or Hulu can’t release their own short-form video copycats to compete with TikTok. But they can produce more traditional shows featuring viral internet stars. In the process, they have a chance at reaching the vast audience these social media performers already have developed.
“These people have built-in fan bases,” said Chas Lacaillade, CEO of digital talent agency Bottle Rocket Management, who previously worked at Hollywood talent agency ICM Partners. “To have the primary talent have a direct link with their fans is instrumental in driving that show’s viewership.”