BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND – FEBRUARY 27: (ISSUED FOR UK NEWSPAPERS FOR UP TO 24 HOURS … [+]
Last year, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle made their mark as social media influencers, and now the older brother and heir to the British throne, Prince William, went to the video sharing service YouTube along with wife Kate Middleton
On Wednesday, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge launched their own YouTube channel and quickly attracted more than 300,000 subscribers. Her first video, which was only 25 seconds long and was only used to welcome the viewers, has been viewed more than 1.8 million times. There were more than 9,200 comments as of Thursday.
A second video was released Thursday and consisted of phone calls recorded last fall between Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge and finalists in the National Portrait Gallery’s Hold Still photo exhibition.
The second video, which premiered Thursday morning, had already been viewed more than 182,000 times and offered an intimate glimpse into the life of the Duchess, who was quickly compared to Prince William’s mother, Princess Diana.
However, it’s not entirely clear what the channel is supposed to offer other than better access to the future King and Queen of the United Kingdom.
“Be careful what you say now because these guys film everything,” William quipped in the debut video.
Royal Reality TV?
The royal family may always have had their lives more public than most, but posting on YouTube could offer a “controlled message”. Prince William may suggest that everything be filmed, but they will surely have final approval for what is released.
“It’s an interesting move by the royal family,” said Pund-IT technology analyst Charles King. “Given the reach of YouTube and its growing importance as a social media channel, a communication POV makes sense.”
More importantly, this could also help get the British royal couple back on their feet – after the bombshell interview with the Los Angeles-based royal couple.
“The recent brouhaha on Prince Harry and his wife Megan’s withdrawal from official royal duties may have sparked this as an attempt by the royal family to be more proactive in using social media to tell their side of the story,” added King. “Harry and Megan’s more adept use of social channels could also have been a factor. In any case, the timing – years after the royal family opened Twitter and Facebook accounts – suggests that recent events have inspired this new effort could. “
Will people watch?
YouTube has already proven that someone will see it if you post it, and it is likely that royal watchers will be delighted to have access to Prince William and Duchess Kate like this.
“I’m sure it will be a success. More than 17 million people watched Oprah, Harry and Meghan whine about their lives,” said Lon Sakfo, author of the Social Media Bible. “If they sell stocks in the channel, I want in!”
YouTube as a platform is certainly about a niche audience where developers can make a living with a few thousand subscribers while others have become megabrands of the video sharing service.
“Look at the number of viewers that Ryan’s World’s eight-year-old Ryan had 45.96 million views and 26 million subscribers,” said Safko. “This is going to be a new, exciting platform for you to share the daily gossip and pabulum. It’s the new ‘Royal Tabloid’. And I’m sure the Queen Mum will love this show as much as The Crown.”
Of course, the biggest challenge can be to keep the audience entertained. The Crown was successful on Netflix as it was a drama that offered a highly fictional glimpse into the royals. At the same time, reality TV has become so popular that some viewers just want to see more of William and Kate.
“Can you imagine the number of viewers when they address internationally important, tabloid-worthy guests such as Vladimir Putin or Whoopi Goldberg,” thought Safko.
The final question is whether these efforts to become more accessible can express the approach of the Royal brand.
“As for the monarchy,” said Safko, there is only so much hope, adding, “I fear the Windsor is just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic at this point.”