So, what exactly are Vtubers? How are they created? Do they earn money? Many questions arise when you hear this new term. I embarked on the research journey and found answers to all of these questions! Keep reading if you’re currently as confused as me in the beginning.
What is a Vtuber?
Vtubers (short for Virtual YouTubers) are a new form of social media influencers. They use a CGI-generated virtual avatar to represent themselves and to create content. Here is a video example from Haachama – one of the most famous Vtubers at the moment.
VTubers originated in Japan in 2016 and are typically more popular in East Asian countries such as South Korea, China, and Japan itself. In these regions, VTubers have been able to enter the mainstream culture. Check out Vtuber’s fandom to get more information about each animated character.
Although most Vtubers speak Japanese, numerous Vtubers channels are targeted towards English-speaking audiences since the trend is slowly reaching western countries. Among the most famous Vtubers in 2021 are Gawr Gura, Kizuna AI, Houshou Marine, and Haachama.
What do Vtubers do?
VTubers usually create the same types of content as typical YouTubers. It can range from playing games for hours, hosting live streams, participating in challenges, and collaborating with other influencers.
Part of being a VTuber is building a character. The main goal is to choose a specific personality and way of talking to their audience. This influences the content that they make and their relationship with their fans. VTubers have no limits: they can be male or female, real or fictional. Here is a description of Gawr Gura persona, one of the most popular Vtubers at the moment:
All you really need to know about this airheaded Atlantean is summed up in her most famous clip, where she stands still with an open-mouthed grin for an uncomfortably long time… and then just says, “Ah.”
How are Vtubers created?
There are dozens of programs (both free and paid) that allow VTubers to create videos avatars/models. If you have an iPhone, you probably tried at least once to create Animoji – customized face emoji that reflects your facial expressions. The technology behind VTuber programs is very similar to how Animoji works.
Among the most popular app is VRoid Studio, which allows you to create an avatar for free. This software use motion-capture technology to track your facial expressions and movements and project them to an avatar. As a result, VTuber can freely move around on camera.
In addition to creating fictional physical features, some VTubers also change their voices with special programs: from just pitching them up or down to altering voices completely.
How do Vtubers earn money?
Of course, this level of Vtuber’s popularity brings sponsorship deals in. In June 2019, Vtuber Kaguya Luna broke a Guinness World Record and worked with Nissin Foods to perform a publicity stunt. She attached a phone to a helium balloon and started a live stream at an altitude of 30km above sea level, breaking the previous Guinness record of 18.42km. Goal? Promote a cup noodle franchise.
Most VTubers also generate income through viewers’ donations, merchandise, and taking part in large advertising campaigns like Kizuna Al, who became a national ambassador for Japan’s tourism organization.
Vtubers Industry and Hololive Production
Hololive Production is a virtual YouTuber talent agency owned by Japanese tech entertainment company Cover Corporation. As of 2021, the agency manages more than 50 VTubers between its branches. Hololive Production works the same as any other talent agency promoting uprising Vtubers worldwide.
As of November 2021, they have reached 1.5 million subscribers on Youtube. However, hololive is not a single creator; it’s a talent agency. This means that Vtubers that feature on the main channel successfully completed numerous interviews to join the agency. In return, they get massive promotion support from the production company.
How to become a VTuber?
If you want to become a Vtuber, I have good and bad news for you. Good news – Vtuber is a rapidly growing trend with a lot of potentials. While starting a traditional YouTube channel from scratch in 2021 is channeling due to high competition, being a Vtuber can differentiate you from the crowd. Bad news – you need to put lof effort into creating your characters.
It’s not only about the technical aspect, but also the whole marketing strategy that you need to think about: what my characters will be like, what audience I want to attract, what is my goal? if you’re interested, check out a great step-by-step guide on becoming a Vtuber here.
Do you follow any Vtubers? Let me know in the comments below. 👇🏼
If you want to learn about video marketing strategy, make sure to download our free YouTube marketing guide for business.