Rise of Indie News Creators: Less Than Half of YouTube’s Most Watched News Channels Tied to Legacy Brands

No network, no problem: independent news creators “thrive” on YouTube

Viewers are nearly as likely to turn to independent news shows as they are big-budget news operations on YouTube — with independent creators often pulling in views that are comparable (or even stronger) than established outlets like MSNBC — according to a new study from Pew Research Center on Monday.

Out of the most-watched news channels on YouTube, 42% of them are independently run, compared to 49% that are tied to legacy media, Pew found. (The remaining 9% are “associated with other types of organizations,” Pew said.) Strikingly, 70% of the most popular independent channels are built around a central personality. And a majority of the time, those creators are true YouTubers, or people who initially “gained a following through their YouTube presence,” rather than a “structured organization.”

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Sean Burch

Sean Burch

Tech reporter • sean.burch@thewrap.com • @seanb44