"As kids have changed their spending habits, there is now a huge budget available for experiences," says Meridith Valiando Rojas in a New York Times piece by Brooks Barnes (6/7/14). Meredith is co-founder, with her husband, Chris, of DigiTour Media, whose "experiences" center on those "who have created mass followings on YouTube, Instagram and Vine." "It’s all about bringing the Internet to life," says Meridith. "I’m constantly on the prowl for the creme de la meme."
Her realm includes Our2ndLife, "a group of guys who became famous by videotaping themselves trying to balance cotton balls on their heads and drinking anchovy and hot pepper smoothies." O2L, as they are also known, headlined at DigiFest NYC, a festival held in a Citi Field parking lot recently. Similar events sold a total of "18,000 tickets last year" and are expected "to sell 100,000 this year and 250,000 in 2015." Given the nature of the entertainment, performances average about 15 minutes each.
Teenage girls are the primary audience demographic, and the stars tend to be heartthrobs. "We had to build five to 10 minutes into the start of the show where we just let them scream and scream," says Connor Franta of O2L, who is best known for going shirtless. "I’m kind of shocked anyone wants to meet me," he says. "I like to say that we’re talented in that we have no talent." Ryan Seacrest is among DigiFest’s backers. He sees dollars within and says he plans to "scale this up and sprinkle in more established stars."