Document Type

Student Research Paper


Spring 2021

Academic Department


Faculty Advisor(s)

Dr. Colin Helb


YouTube has permeated the everyday lives of millions of people and created an online entertainment platform where people can create and share video content. Since its beginnings in 2005, it has grown from a simple source of entertainment to a complex ecosystem where popular creators can make a living off of their content. Both large and small YouTubers have the opportunity to follow a successful YouTube career path, and now, creators can be part of a niche subcategory to reach a dedicated fanbase. For example, some popular video types on YouTube include beauty, prank, lifestyle, comedy, and commentary. These people often start ventures outside of the YouTube sphere once they gain a certain level of popularity, including launching merchandise and clothing stores and even their own brands of specialized products. However, YouTube creators can become the center of drama in their community, or be faced with stiff competition on a platform filled with other popular creators. Additionally, getting started in a subcategory can be daunting, as there are thousands of channels for watchers to choose from of people making very similar content, in many instances. Why do people watch more than one creator in a subcategory when those YouTubers often make videos that are either similar in format, content, or both? YouTubers often have strong personalities, a fresh take on popular or old topics, and have other ventures or previous success online that allows them to be prosperous even with many other channels in their subcategory. Using Jake Paul as a boundary-definer, the commentary channels of Kurtis Conner, Danny Gonzalez, and Drew Gooden will act as case studies to identify why people will watch more than one channel in a particular subcategory, even when their content can be very similar.


Honors Senior Thesis; Honors in the Discipline; COM 400 Honors in the Discipline I and COM 401 Honors in the Discipline II; Scholarship and Creative Arts Day (SCAD)

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