Kylie’s worth a Billion because she’s a media business, not a makeup line
There have been a lot of headlines this week about the internet’s favourite love/hate relationship. That is, of course, the one that we all have with Kylie Jenner. Regardless of your stance, I promise you that you have an opinion about the sisters who have become the Aristocracy of the social channels. Wherever you live on the scale of love to disgust, there are some fairly significant things that we should all sit up and take note about the reality that is the Jenner/Kardashian dynasty:
What they’ve done is own their own media. In the exact same time period that Kylie rose to power, attention shifted away from a few primary entertainment/news sources (ABC/NBC/Blockbuster, etc.) and onto our mobile devices. All that she did was recognize that and create what is now one of the world’s most powerful communication platforms.
Let’s consider just how substantial her media empire is for a second:
- Kylie has over 158 million people locked in to her channels (not including Snapchat).
- The most watched TV show of all time was the 2015 Super Bowl at 114 million people. For 4 hours. And once the game was over, everyone turned the TV off.
- The amount spent on those Super Bowl ads for one year: $419 million – to appear when the people we came to see were off the screen.
- On Kylie’s channels, she and her brands are the show.
Want more substance? Kylie tweeted that she just wasn’t that into Snapchat anymore. The value of that company shifted by $1.3 Billion on the same day.
sooo does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore? Or is it just me… ugh this is so sad.
— Kylie Jenner (@KylieJenner) February 21, 2018
We can do one of three things with this information:
- Write the Kylie phenomenon off as a sign of the apocalypse and continue doing business as usual.
- Recognize the value and try to apply the old model to the new world, and just throw money at the new media channels (aka: “Influencers”).
- Recognize what her family did years ago: That the most valuable brands invest in attention because they know that it’s up for grabs in a way that it’s never been before.
What I’m not saying is that any of this stuff is easy
What I am saying is that this digital/social stuff is not and has never been a side of the desk thing. It is the most valuable item on many brands’ balance sheets (Red Bull, GoPro, Dollar Shave Club) and still, in 2018, most brands are offloading it to some poor under-resourced agency or junior person.
Mostly, I just wish that people could remove their personal feelings about the right/wrong of the sisters’ wealth, take a step back and recognize: There was a gold rush for our attention, they scooped up a massive amount of it, now they’re reaping the benefits.
Meanwhile, many of our brands were renting attention space from traditional media owners and wondering why they’re getting lapped.
Invest in attention, create something worth sharing, own at least a sliver of the share of voice and allow yourself to see Kylie Inc. for the media lessons that it’s shown us, rather than for the judgment that allows us to so quickly write it off.
One last thing about the sisters and social channels
Kylie crept up on us. The mainstream media world was so focused on Kim K, but somehow Kylie doubled Kim’s revenue last year. How’d that happen?
Kim shows up in all of the places that we expect a celebrity to be. She’s on TV, she has a famous husband, and she posts to her Instagram news feed a lot.
Kylie, on the other hand, built her fame in the corners of social media that some of us don’t like to talk about: Snapchat, Instagram Stories, the places where the “kids” are hanging out and the suits hadn’t figured out how to invest yet.
In case it’s not painfully obvious by now:
This digital media stuff is not a cost centre. It isn’t a toy to communicate with the youngest percentage of the audience. It is attention, which is one of the most valuable things that we can be investing in. When we reframe the conversation from likes and followers to attention and value, it can change everything about the way that we allocate resources and set goals for our digital/social teams.