During the last two years, a certain type of video content has snowballed into our lives and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.
That content is ‘reaction videos’ and yes, it is as simple as it sounds. People play a video and film how they react to what they see on screen, capturing their opinions and discussing what points peaked their interest – simple enough, right?
The whole realm of ‘reacting’ can be traced back to chat shows, interviews and reality television, with Gogglebox finding success more recently. The format’s appeal cross-platform proves that audiences generally enjoy watching other people reacting to popular television shows or videos. It’s almost like a digital Russian doll, you are watching someone, watch something that lots of people have already watched… it’s confusing I know.
So, where do The Fine Brothers (Benny and Rafi Fine) fit into all of this? Essentially this twosome are responsible for creating multiple online series’ that capitalised on the ‘react’ format. They launched ‘Kids’, ‘Elders’ and ‘YouTubers React’ which rocketed their channel to 15-million subscribers.
But in their latest move, The Fine Brothers have angered their digital community (and beyond), and there’s no surprise why. Their idea is to give content creators around the world the opportunity to make reaction videos using the formats of their popular shows.
Cool story bros’, but it’s not fine at all and here’s why; creating videos online is already free – especially reaction videos – and the internet has reacted in the worse possible way. Audiences are offended that The Fine Bros’ are trying to trademark the word ‘react’ and the reaction video genre which has existed for a long, long time.
The Fine Brothers have responded with another video outlining their intentions, but if anything this has made things worse.
Viewers are now unsubscribing in their thousands losing 150,000 subscribers in just 3 days. Here’s a live count, if you want to keep watch for yourself.
On day three of the ‘react’ fall out, a blog post has appeared on Medium signed from both brothers that rescinds all claims.
It’s unclear if this was a PR stunt that back fired, or if it was a genuine move to capitalise on YouTube users, beyond ad revenue. So, what’s the lesson to be learnt here? Don’t try to take money off your fans and don’t do anything to restrict their creative freedom..