Are reaction channels the bane of YouTube?
Reaction channels are in my opinion quite a weird trend. They were extremely popular last year, some are still this year. But of course the fiasco with the Fine Bros. and how much Reaction channels have been called out, such popularity maybe seeing a decline. But they do seem to amount up a fair size of subscribers.
Now it has always been quite a curious thing to me, why would people want to watch other people reacting videos? But then I got the answer within context to these “YouTubers” specifically. Majority of the people are not watching the reaction, they’re watching the videos those people are reacting to. Basically in place of the original, they watch the content stolen by the reactors. Yes, I know I used the world stolen. Quite a heavy accusation I’m sure some of you may be thinking right now.
Let’s look at the effort that goes into making a reaction video:
- Get a video to react to, or in most cases, steal it.
- Record computer screen with a camera recording you live.
- Play the video and react to it, or not as the case is with some reactors.
- Put the original video in as a small box inside the reactor’s live recorded video. If they care about fair use at all, they may bother doing some edits to change things up a bit.
- Post the video and watch them YouTube views and money roll on in.
Let’s look at the effort that goes into making an animated video:
- Come up with an idea/concept.
- Script and storyboard it out.
- Draw out your characters, and any other concept art you need.
- Start animating (a long and tedious process requiring great patience). Depending on the length and fluidity of the animation, as well as manpower, this can take anywhere from a couple of days to months.
- Record and or download any sounds required.
- Edit the animation together. Add in the sounds and do any other editing required.
- Post up the video and hardly watch those views rise (unless you’re already big, in which case watch the views come in).
Compare the two, you can clearly see a lot more effort goes into making an animated video than a reaction video. Yet reaction videos get more views and more money paid out to the reactors. They get paid money to react to things that are created by other people. In most cases, reaction channels (Fine Bros. excluded) have taken the content of others without their expressed permission. This is downright content plagiarism/stealing.
These YouTubers make money off of someone else’s hard work. Would you like it if I did that to you? Probably not unless you just didn’t care about the potential loss in revenue. And believe me, there will be a loss as the viewer has already watched the video. What point is there in going over to the original content creator’s video? The only time you would want to do that is if you wanted to check out other videos by them.
From a publicity standpoint, it is a 50/50 bet. Some people may go over there, some may just be happy with watching that video one time and moving on. But then there is also that loss in view numbers that could have helped the original content creators. Let’s not forget, as I mentioned before, these channels don’t seem to abide by Fair Use as much as they believe they do.
In my previous post about fair use, one of the conditions was that the content has to be transformative. Reaction videos that don’t contain many verbal reaction aside from just facial changes don’t count under fair use. Again, people are not there to just watch your face, they’re watching the much flashier video playing in the corner.
Next point is, they use the original video in its entirety. So not only is the majority of their content stolen and not transformative, but also unedited. There really is a simple solution to this, edit the video to keep only the best parts in. You’re not showing the whole video, and you’re still able to show off your best reactions for that particular video. This is a far better method that can be covered under fair use.
Also as I said before, majority of the time no permission is acquired. Before I said Fine Bros. are excluded from this because they tend to license the material they want their staff reacting to. Meaning, there is legal work taking place in the background. It isn’t a case of just pick, choose and hope for the best. No permission, taking the content and showing it off in its entirety. Not to mention making money off of it. Not only is that rude to the original content creator but also potentially dangerous to their livelihood.
So are reaction channels the bane of YouTube?
Yes. Plain and simple answer is, yes they are.
They are a trend, and like all trends they will have to die out at some point. But for now, lets just say they’re setting a very low bar for quality entertainment. Why people enjoy these videos who genuinely watch it for the reactions is beyond me. But I suppose if they’re having fun, then more power to them. Me, I’m happy sticking to something more substantial as my choice of entertainment.
Thanks for reading! Hope you stick around for my other posts.