How do Youtubers Facecam

Reaction videos are booming on Youtube: that's behind the hype

  • YouTuber watch clips from the Internet in so-called “reaction videos” and comment on them.
  • The phenomenon has been around for a long time: from Japanese TV programs to the first viral hits on YouTube.
  • The triumph of videos could have psychological and social reasons.
  • More articles on Business Insider.

They are called MontanaBlack, LUCA or unplayed and are among the most famous web video stars in Germany. Your business model: watch existing videos on YouTube and comment on them live.

So-called "reaction videos" have grown into one of the most popular genres on YouTube, and the trend is rising. More and more video producers are jumping on the trend. Basically, the clips are exactly what the banal name promises: people's reactions to things on the Internet. The "Reacter" records his screen while he is watching videos from the Internet and commenting on them live. He himself can be seen via facecam in a small window on the edge of the screen. In principle, anything is possible for a "reaction": "heavy" ramen noodles, conspiracy theories, rap battles, Netflix trailers. Whole series seasons are now being commented on in full. And millions are watching.

But where does the hype come from? Why do so many people like to watch other people look at something? And why are some of these videos more popular than the original?

Request to someone who should know. Florian Marienberg became known as "FloderFlo" only with reactions, over 160,000 people follow his videos on YouTube. On his main channel, he usually watches new German rap songs or comedy videos and comments on them, usually with enthusiastic exclamations or loud laughter. Behind him, action figures from "Game of Thrones", DVDs and sneakers are piled up, creating the somewhat nerdy backdrop of a teenager's room.

"Many write that it feels like looking with a good friend"

“Many write that it feels like watching a good friend,” he says, referring to his community, which is always enthusiastic about sending him new video suggestions. “Personally, I prefer to watch series with a friend or with family, because it makes it a lot more fun. You can then share your thoughts or are made aware of things that you normally would not have noticed ”.

And ultimately there are also many people who do not have anyone in their circle of friends with the same interests. At least that is how it was with Flo himself when he started watching "reaction videos" from YouTubers in the USA. "It was cool to have people on the Internet from whom I could sometimes hear a different opinion."

Flo's opinion is now being heard by people all over the world. In addition to his German channel, the 19-year-old also runs an English-language channel on which he mainly comments on South Korean pop music. “GERMAN watches KPOP for the FIRST TIME!” Is the title of his most successful video. “South Korea is the country that looks at me the most, followed by Thailand, Malaysia and the USA. Only two percent of my viewers on the channel come from Germany. ”He suspects cultural motives behind the interest:“ People probably think: Hey, someone in Germany likes things that come from my country and that I can experience live here ”. That is an extra attraction of the videos.

Psychologically one also seems to be able to explain the success of “Reaction Videos” plausibly, one believes in an interview of the tech blog “ars technica” with the psychologist Andrea Weinberg from the San Francisco Medical Center. "When we see someone who reacts exuberantly to something, we can more easily empathize with them because we know exactly how they feel at that moment." This “just like me” factor should ensure that you identify more strongly with this person - and that you enjoy watching these videos more.

The principle of "reaction videos" has been around for a long time

This phenomenon is not new. For decades, almost every Japanese TV show has shown small boxes with reactions from celebrities - a kind of equivalent to the canned laughter in American sitcoms. The trend on YouTube started around 2007, when people in their living rooms reacted to the more than unsavory video shocker “2 Girls 1 Cup” (don't google it!). Suddenly the phenomenon took on a life of its own - after primarily young people had filmed themselves watching the clip, these videos were now available in all possible constellations, for example with grandmothers, marines or a Kermit the frog hand puppet.

The genre has now become an industry. In the US, the channel of two YouTubers called Fine Bros. has grown into the largest content factory with 20 million subscribers. In the meantime, the two operators even tried to have the term "React" protected by copyright. And in Germany, too, millions of fans click the videos - albeit not yet in the dimensions of the United States.

Nevertheless, even a relatively small YouTuber like FloderFlo could already live on his income, as he says. Even if it's not that easy. Almost half of his videos are "copyright-claimed"; this means that all advertising revenue from these videos automatically goes to the creators of the reaction material, such as record companies. So far, he has rejected offers to respond to other videos.

Despite copyright problems: You can also earn money with "Reaction Videos"

“I get two to three inquiries a week, mostly from smaller rappers. But I haven't done that at all because I don't think it's cool to sell my opinion. If something fits now and I can say what I want in the video, maybe you could talk about it ”.

In the long term, the business model will change anyway, because the "reaction YouTubers" are gradually migrating to live streaming platforms such as Twitch. There they can interact with their fans in real time and receive small donations from them at the same time. So they are no longer dependent on the upstream YouTube advertising - which they can still cash in if they re-use the recordings of their live streams on YouTube.

Florian Marienberg will also take the step on Twitch as soon as possible, he says. Actually, only one thing has prevented him so far: his poor internet connection.