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Madison & Vine

vineSocial media’s stars are making big bucks by turning their talents to brand advertising, reports Jenna Wortham in The New York Times (6/9/14). It is also reaping profits for the likes of Robby Ayala, who "dropped out of law school to pursue his career as a full-time video creator … on Vine, publishing several goofy six-second movies to his 2.6 million followers each day." He now makes "several thousand dollars" for each video he makes to promote products and services.

He has also joined Niche, the newfangled advertising agency that hired him to make the videos, to help "other Vine users polish their content and make videos for advertisers." Founded by Rob Fishman, "Niche says it has close to 3,000 social-media accounts, with a total reach of 500 million followers. The agency has worked with roughly 70 brands, including Home Depot, General Electric and Gap Kids." As one Niche client explains, the idea is to reach young consumers "in a way that’s really in their world."

Niche pays "a broad range of fees, from $500 to as much as $50,000, but the average payout for a Vine campaign ranges in the mid-four figures." Jethro Ames, a member of the Niche stable, "declined to say how much he earned, but said people posting advertisements on Vine can make six figures a year, and some as much as $300,000." Niche, meanwhile, "has generated more than $1.5 million in revenue since its inception last June and expects to bring in over $4 million by the end of the year."