Based in the Los Angeles, Paul Cazer represents many of the world’s leading digital and social media stars, including Logan Paul and Zach King. He has led the way in creating opportunities that bridge the gap between social media talent and traditional Hollywood talent, from securing lead roles for clients in major studio feature films to orchestrating development deals with A-list producers. VideoInk was lucky enough to get in contact with Cazers to get a bit of insight on the industry.
VideoInk: Behind closed doors, there have been murmurs that the age of the influencer is dead, or dying at best. As someone who is shepherding social video talent into expanded businesses, what do you think of the health of the “influencer economy”?
Paul Cazers: I have not heard those murmurs nor seen any suggestion of that in the marketplace. Quite the opposite actually. The major social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat are continuing to rapidly gain new users. People are creating content and posting on these social platforms. The ones that do it best receive the most followers.
This generation of kids and young adults are increasingly looking to these content creators for entertainment. Take Logan Paul, for example. He started on Vine, grew a massive audience, transitioned that to one of the largest followings on Facebook in the world and now has the fastest growing channel on YouTube. Logan is growing by 50,000 new followers a day and his daily 15 minute vlogs received over 200 million views last month. He’s just one example. The majority of the top influencers continue to grow and with that comes more opportunity with brands and other business. Just as advertisers are willing to pay a premium to buy media in the highest rated television series, they are spending with the influencers that have the highest ratings.
Additionally, ad budgets are quickly moving from TV and other forms of digital content to influencer and social spends. So it is only increasing.
VI: Are there certain characteristics you look for in talent that signals that a YouTube star or Instagram star is ripe for expanding a business outside of those environments?
Cazers: There are. The first consideration is whether the talent has a voice that resonates beyond just the ability to achieve a large audience on their social channels. In other words, we are looking for talent that can be apex multi-hyphenates. Talent that we can create high-level partnerships for in multiple areas outside of digital/short-form content, such as touring, publishing, merch, and particularly licensing opportunities. We also examine the level of engagement and investment the audience has in the creator. Meaning, is their audience emotionally connected to them? Will that audience follow what they do beyond watching their content? Just because a particular influencer may have a large audience, it does not necessarily mean they can convert them to transact. Also, the talent must create entertaining content almost relentlessly. The ones that really make it are posting daily…usually multiple times a day across nearly every platform.
VI: Going into VidCon this week, what trends are you expecting to see at the show? And what’s your team’s agenda there?
Cazers: We’re expecting to see more and more traditional media in the conference hoping to attract the young millennials and Gen Z audiences. They were there in full force last year and now know the value of this audience. There will also be major content platforms and telcos with a big presence. With Marni Walden giving a keynote talk this year, it speaks to the need for new platforms like Go90 to reach this hard to penetrate audience and to partner with the leading influencers in the space.
Going into VidCon our agenda consists of three things. First and foremost, supporting our existing clients who are launching new initiatives, products and connecting with their fans. Secondly, we’re looking forward to meeting with the new emerging talent who we believe would be a good fit with CAA. If you look at someone like our client Liza Koshy and where she was 14 months ago compared to today, it is a great example of how meteoric the rise can be with the right new talent. And lastly, VidCon is a great opportunity for our brand sales team to meet new buyers and enjoy some time with some of the largest spenders in the space.
VI: Is it any harder today to become a breakout talent on social channels than it was before? What factors are working for/against aspiring social stars?
Cazers: On one hand it is more difficult because there are so many more people posting their content on their channels. There’s a lot more noise. Early on with YouTube a handful of kids that figured it out quickly become big stars such as Jenna Marbles and Bethany Mota. They were some of the first and helped invent the concept of posting content intended for mass consumption. Now there’s a nearly impossible amount of competition to break away from the pack.
On the other hand, the really talented ones can be even more explosive now because of both the mass of daily users and the creation of new social platforms. Hundreds of millions of people are on them, watching, sharing, liking, commenting…if someone is undeniable it will not go unnoticed. Take our client Ariel Martin for example. She leveraged her success as the most followed creator on a brand new platform called Musical.ly to jumping right up to the top of the other social apps such as Instagram and YouTube. Now Ariel has converted this into the early stages of a legitimate music career, successfully landing roles in premium scripted projects and working with Fortune 100 brands.
VI: On the dealmaking side, what are a nuance, or two, you find in creating deals for digital talent versus traditional celebrities?
Cazers: A significant distinction in the deal making process for digital talent is the issue of royalties and/or bonuses that reward the performance and success of the talent. In traditional celebrity deals, there is usually a guaranteed fixed fee commensurate to their quote for the endorsement and that’s it. With digital talent, because they have the ability to go viral and actually drive measurable data and transactions, a good deal will incorporate that into the compensation. So usually the minimum guarantee is significantly lower than a traditional celebrity, however, there exists the ability to earn more in success. Those are the types of deals that I get the most excited about.
Paul Cazers is a Digital Talent Agent at leading entertainment and sports agency Creative Artists Agency (CAA). Cazers is based in the Los Angeles office, where he represents many of the world’s leading digital and social media stars, including Logan Paul and Zach King. Cazers has pioneered opportunities that bridge the gap between social media talent and traditional Hollywood talent, from securing lead roles for clients in major studio feature films to orchestrating development deals with A-list producers.
Prior to CAA, Cazers began his career as an attorney at firms Skadden Arps and Hansen Jacobsen. He joined CAA in 2015.
Cazers graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in Finance and has a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center.