Let me tell you about the Great Recession. Jobs were lost. Industries shut down. Homes were lost. I got to sit in my apartment, sending out resumes for hours on end with not a single response. Yes, 2009 was a truly bad year for many of us. However, something was bubbling up from this depressing swamp: the content creator.
The sophomore years of YouTube had given way to more than just pet videos and pirated movies. Individuals were finding their voices via the platform. There was freedom to create. There was an entirely new audience to be reached, people who were searching for a new form of escapism. One of those people at the time was me.
Sometimes nostalgia can be a helpful distraction, especially when the economy and job market is crashing around you. So, after calling a few businesses trying to find a job, I decided to search YouTube for some old shows from my youth. That’s when I came across The Nostalgia Critic and his review of the Super Mario Bros. film. It was just a guy in front of the camera commenting on the movie. Yes, it was simple and straightforward, but it worked.
I was quite unaware at that time that digital content such as this would evolve into what we have today: millions of views, millions of subscribers, and millions of dollars. Content creators have become so dominant in the entertainment space, that we’ve seen mainstream media and journalists take aim at them, causing the various “adpocalypses” over the past few years. Obviously, there is a struggle occurring between old media and new media. Can these two titans co-exist? How can new media continue to change and evolve in order to retain the viewers that are its very lifeblood?
In an exclusive interview, The Nostalgia Critic himself Doug Walker spoke with me at length about how he and Channel Awesome came to be and their path forward in the age of internet-based entertainment.