A top digital talent exec at WME breaks down the big influencer deals of 2019 and what he’s looking for in 2020, from TikTok to touring

Jad Dayeh

Since the rise of YouTube influencers, Hollywood’s top talent agencies like William Morris Endeavor have developed digital-focused departments.
Now agencies like WME work with popular YouTube stars like David Dobrik, Casey Neistat, and Lilly Singh in developing multi-platform businesses.
Jad Dayeh, partner and the cohead of digital at WME, spoke to Business Insider about the trends in digital media he noticed in 2019 and what he expects for the business in 2020.
Dayeh thinks the buzzy video app TikTok is “undeniably connecting with youth culture on a global level.”
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Creators on TikTok are surging in the influencer space, having captured the attention of Gen Zers worldwide, and are now looking to build lucrative businesses around their massive audiences.

And William Morris Endeavor, which is among the top Hollywood talent agencies, wants a piece of the action.

The company recently signed TikTok creator Chase Hudson, and his popular collab group Hype House, which includes other top creators like Charli D’Amelio, Thomas Petrou, and Addison Rae.

“I think TikTok is super interesting,” Jad Dayeh, partner and cohead of digital at WME, told Business Insider in a wide-ranging interview. “It’s undeniably connecting with youth culture on a global level.”

Since the rise of digital media, WME has developed a department for influencers popular on platforms like YouTube, Instagram – and now TikTok.

WME represents some of YouTube’s top creators, like Lilly Singh (14.9 million YouTube subscribers); Ethan and Grayson Dolan, known as The Dolan Twins online (with 10.6 million YouTube subscribers); and David Dobrik (15 million subscribers).

The company works with these creators in connecting them with top brands, helping them negotiate deals, and building out direct-to-consumer products.

Business Insider spoke to Dayeh about the top trends he noticed in 2019 – from the rise of TikTok to gaming influencers — and what he expects from the business in 2020.

How digital talent earned money in 2019: from exclusive streaming deals to major brands working with influencers

2019 was marked by a few shifts in the digital talent business, with new opportunities and ways to earn major cash.

“One is just the competitive nature of the deals around gaming and gaming personalities, and the different platforms looking to engage talent exclusively,” Dayeh said of 2019.

A streaming deal in the gaming industry is typically when a creator signs with a specific platform — like Twitch, Mixer, or Facebook Gaming — to broadcast on it exclusively.

Exclusive streaming deals brought WME and clients like Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, who is among the most popular professional gamers in the world, a lot of business. In August, Ninja left Amazon’s Twitch for an exclusive deal with Microsoft’s video-game-streaming platform, Mixer.

Dayeh said WME spent a lot of time last year negotiating these “multimillion-dollar, multi-year deals” for the gamers the company represents.

WME also focused on securing partnerships between digital talent and major brands.

In 2019, Louis …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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