For­get au­di­tion­ing and wait­ing for a big break. To­day’s stars are more likely to be found har­ness­ing the power of so­cial me­dia, writes Jack van Beynen.

Sunday News - - FRONT PAGE -

WHENweath­er­man Jim Hickey turned up for his first day at Tele­vi­sion New Zealand in 1988, he was tak­ing up a po­si­tion at the cutting edge of broad­cast­ing.

Thirty years on and Hickey’s daugh­ter, 24-year-old Sally Jo, is a pi­o­neer broad­caster in her own right: she’s a pro­fes­sional YouTu­ber with 202,000 sub­scribers.

And she is not alone. As of March, there were 99 Kiwi YouTu­bers host­ing chan­nels boast­ing 100,000 or more sub­scribers.

Young peo­ple are grow­ing up with dreams of be­com­ing YouTu­bers and it’s hardly sur­pris­ing, New Zealand’s top YouTube chan­nel earns be­tween $400,000 and $6 mil­lion a year in paid ad­ver­tis­ing through the Google-owned com­pany’s videoshar­ing plat­form.

Back in the day, Hickey at­tracted TVNZ’s at­ten­tion through act­ing work in shows and com­mer­cials.

‘‘Some­one just rang me . . . and said, ‘Look, we’re au­di­tion­ing be­cause we’re mov­ing into the dig­i­tal age’,’’.

The ‘‘dig­i­tal age’’ in­volved graph­ics on a green screen and TVNZ wanted new faces to front this bold new de­vel­op­ment.

His daugh­ter needed no au­di­tion to win a spot on Youtube, she

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