US telecommunications giant AT&T has launched Hello Lab, a year-long entertainment initiative that fosters mobile content from 10 digital creators across various platforms. Through web series, live events and podcasts, the company aims to promote content produced and distributed on mobile phones.
The first Hello Lab project, fan-driven travel series Dare to Travel from YouTube creators Damon and Jo, premiered in March 2016, as did Make My Monday from Snapchatter Shaun McBride (Shonduras). McBride will spend a day each week tackling challenges sent to him by his Snapchat followers.
Now, YouTube influencer Grace Helbig – who has already published two non-fiction best-sellers – will co-write a novella called Freak Week with her fans. The first chapter was written by Helbig and can be read on the project's Wattpad account. For eight weeks, Helbig will post weekly videos with writing prompts to her YouTube account, and her followers will incorporate the prompts into 500-1,500 words competing to be the next chapter.
At the South by Southwest festival this year, marketing and entertainment professionals stressed that Generation Z is abandoning mainstream media in favour of digital creator communities – 63% say they prefer real people over stars in ads. To remain in touch with a generation whose media consumption is fragmented across multiple mobile platforms and peer communities, it is vital that brands understand how they can approach influencers as conduits for their messages.
For more about these segmented audiences and how to reach them through digital channels, see our coverage from SXSWi 2016.