Saturday, February 12, 2011

Has Shane Dawson Jumped the Shark On Youtube?

Jumping The Shark: The point when a television series begins to decline and has run it's course and is relying on gimmicks, odd storylines or replacing characters.

First off, I am not slamming Shane Dawson. I do think he is talented, but I am starting to grow weary of the reliance on tastless sex jokes that have become the stock in trade for most of what Shane has been posting on Youtube. Sure, some of what he says in his videos is funny, but some of the "jokes" wear thin. I rarely post any of Shane's videos here because a lot of what he says is in such poor taste. Another point is that a massive part of the audience are very young and really don't need to hear that stuff. I'm not trying to "protect their tender ears" as most people (even the very young) hear lots of swearing and crude language, but some of it is not for the very young.

In the video below he shoots his "grandmother" and blood gushes from her mouth and there's an impromptu sexual encounter. That, I didn't find too funny. Most of what is supposed to be "funny" is just there for the shock value - and most of it is just the same recycled humor and variations on the same jokes Shane has been using for a long time now.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not an old fart with no sense of humor. I love great fart jokes and sex jokes. Most of the jokes in this video barely registered a smile let alone a laugh. The problem is that his jokes aren't very clever. Sex jokes work best as a sort of garnish. Sprinkled liberally through a scene. Shane wields them like a club and relies on them way, way too much to be effective.

Shane Dawson Has Hit A Plateau On Youtube

In 2009-2010, Shane Dawson was all over Youtube. He was THE rising star getting 10s of thousands of new subscribers every week. If you take a look at what TheWillofDC was saying at the time in his videos, Dawson was gunning for the top spot as most subscribed on Youtube. So what happened? Shane made all the way to 3rd spot in the most subscribed list (which he still holds), but the number of new subs has slowed.

Back in July 2010 ShaneDawsonTV had 1,656,057 subscribers and today his main channel has 2,281,256 for a gain of 625,199 which is excellent. That's about 90,000 a month. Many would kill for those numbers. Meanwhile, Ray William Johnson had about 1,500,000 subscribers last July and now is closing in on 3 million subs and Ryan Higa's top spot (he should take it in May 2011), so Ray has taken the crown as "The Rising Star of Youtube". Actually, Shane's main channel is getting new subscribers slower than 6 others in the top ten. Smosh is about 100,000 behind Shane and will probably pass him around July or August. Even Fred is starting to catch up.

There is some good news because Shane has 2 other channels in the Top 100 most subscribed list, his ShaneDawsonTV2 and his iphone channel called shane. According to the website, all 3 channels get a total of about 1.3 million views each day (which is phenomenal) most people are not watching his main channel. For someone with 2 million subs, he is not getting as many views as others with comparative audiences.

Why Don't You Start An iPhone Channel?

Also, half of his views are on his iPhone channel where he posts short little clips and teasers. If you are thinking about doing this Youtube thing, you might want to consider doing the same thing - several prominent Youtubers are making bank and getting tons of views by doing this sort of thing with a 2nd or 3rd channel. A little extra promotion doesn't hurt - just sayin'.

So, Has Shane Dawson "Jumped The Shark?"

It's hard to say for sure. Yes, he's still getting a lot of views and according to that website I mentioned above he's making somewhere around $1,400/daily gross across all three channels (those numbers are of course simply estimates). But he is relying on the same jokes and not really growing his audience as much as he could.

He seems to be running in place which if he is generating $1,400 a day is a nice place to stay running in, but if you are not moving forward, you risk slipping back. Youtube is littered with channels that were successful at one time but now hardly anyone watches them.

Want More Info About What Jumping The Shark Means?

In case you've never seen the episode of Happy Days where the Fonzie (Henry Winkler) actually jumps the shark, the clip is shown below. Happy Days was a monster hit in the mid-to-late 70s and it started using lame gimmicks and storylines that made it less relevent.

The actor who played the ultra-cool Fonzie, Henry Winkler has had quite the career after leaving Happy Days as both a producer and as an actor. He appeared in several episodes of the series Arrested Development, and in one scene he made an inside joke as he jumped a dead shark lying on a pier. Take a look at that scene: Henry Winkler Jumps The Shark Again.


One good point about Shane's channel is that he does have a solid base of fans who love everything he puts out and watch eagerly. Getting to the point where your subscribers reach a critical mass is difficult to do, and the next step is to try to increase that group of viewers. I don't see ShaneDawsonTV getting many more subs, except those who are newbs to Youtube.

Also, using vulgar language to try to shock your audience only works for a while before the offensiveness of the words is all you are left with. If you hear the same language over and over, the shock wears off, the lack of cleverness is revealed, and people move on. Is that happening to Shane Dawson now?

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