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Social Media

Looking Back: Brands Trending in 2016

As the top social media sites release their most popular 2016 posts, tweets, pins, etc., TLL breaks down the top trending brands this last year. Interestingly, the most trending topics don’t necessarily perform well in licensing—see One Direction, which has virtually fallen off retail shelves—but there are some exceptions, such as Star Wars.

The most popular YouTube video was an episode from creator James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke show featuring Adele. In the top 10 was Nike’s Freaky Friday-esque soccer commercial, an audition from America’s Got Talent, and episodes from Spike’s Lip Sync Battle (in which Beyonce made an appearance) and HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. The lesson learned? Brands have to go big to surpass original content like goofy parody songs (“Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen” was No. 2) and a man cutting open a rattlesnake (No. 3).

According to Forbe’s second annual ranking of the top-paid YouTube stars, the top 10 channels earned a combined $70.5 million in the 12 months ending in June (up 23%). The top spot goes to PewDiePie, whose earnings rose 20% to reach $15 million, was attributed to his YouTube Red series, mobile game app, and book from Penguin Random House. Incidentally, PewDiePie is expected to delete his YouTube channel after reaching the 50-million-subscriber mark in a move meant to protest the video sharing site’s algorithm, which led to a 30-50% drop in views for many creators. The No. 2 spot went to Roman Atwood, whose paycheck rose 70% to $8 million thanks to increased video views, a tour, feature film, upcoming book, merchandise, and branding deals. Most YouTube creators on the list have similarly varied income steams.

For a more complete picture of who’s who and what’s what on YouTube, the annual YouTube Rewind video is up—with 200 creators filmed in 18 countries. Look forward to more expansion as a new YouTube Space opens in Dubai for its Middle Eastern creators. The Dubai space will open up in the metropolis’ Studio City area, where real estate is available to serve entertainment companies who will be able to make use of studio space, top-of-the-line equipment, and educational workshops.

Around the Web

On Instagram, Selena Gomez (snagging 8 of the top 10 spots, including No. 1) and soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo (No. 6 and No. 9) had the most-liked posts of the year. The top Instagrammed location based on global geotagging data was Disney Properties, followed by Universal Studios.

Twitter’s top-trending topics and tweets spanned Hollywood and politics, with HBO’s Game of Thrones the top TV show of the year, followed by The Walking Dead and Grey’s Anatomy. Also trending were the Rio Summer Olympics, Disney’s Star Wars, a tweet from One Direction member Harry Styles, and Pokémon Go. The top movies were Star Wars, Suicide Squad, Deadpool, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Smaller outfits like Tumblr have more insular populations of users, and its top posts were teen memes. The most popular, reblogged entertainment topics (largely driven by fanfiction) were Captain America: Civil War, One Direction, and Supernatural.


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