At the annual MIPTV Media Market in Cannes, YouTube global head of entertainment Alex Carloss delivered a keynote address about online video fanbases. In the 15-minute speech, Carloss laid out the difference between an “audience” and a “fanbase” and then discussed the advantages of the latter.

As Carloss explains, fanbases have the power to engage with content on their own terms instead of restricting themselves to the boundaries set by content creators. “An audience tunes in when they’re told to; a fan chooses when and what to watch,” explained Carloss. “An audience sits back and consumes media; a fanbase leans forward and wants to participate. An audience changes the channel when its show is over; a fanbase shares it, comments it, curates it, creates. An audience lives within your borders, and a fanbase breaks those borders down.”

That quote echoes the four major areas of Carloss’ talk. He used examples from Jimmy Kimmel Live, Ellen, Frozen, and Psy to explain the ways YouTube has reshaped traditional media. He broke his talk into four main sections, outlining fans’ abilities to ignore timeslots, become talent, pay tribute, and blur international borders. The whole talk (which precedes a conversation between Carloss and VICE founder Shane Smith) is a worthwhile watch:

Though Carloss aims his talk at traditional media companies and potential advertisers, native online creators can also benefit from an understanding of fanbases. Subscribers and views ultimately mean very little if viewers aren’t interested in engaging across multiple platforms and regularly coming back for more.

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