“With me” videos on YouTube are seeing huge spikes in viewership as people stay home

YouTube creators are performing everyday tasks or taking on crafts and activities that people can do at home because everyone is stuck indoors right now. The genre has boomed as a result of social distancing.

Daily views of videos with “#withme” in the title have increased by 600 percent since March 15th compared to the rest of the year, according to YouTube. Uploads of videos from creators with “at home” in the title have also increased by more than 590 percent. Of those two types of videos, titles like “cook with me,” “work out at home” and “home office” have seen their average daily views grow by 100, 200, and 130 percent respectively.

YouTube has asked people to stay home (#StayHome) and encouraged creators to participate in a new “#WithMe” campaign that started today. A number of creators have already started asking viewers to stay home and continue to socially distance themselves as the world tries to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. The company has also curated a number of “with me” playlists for people looking to exercise, cook, clean, study, and more through YouTube.

“It’s just me and you guys today,” Lauren Riihimaki of the popular LaurDIY channel says in a recent video where she makes tie-dye clothes using tools she found around the house while social distancing. “It’s just me, you, a monitor and two cameras — one wide, and a close up shot so you can see what I’m doing. It really does feel like old times.”

It’s unclear if these videos are seeing a surge in revenue. The Verge asked YouTube for more information, and will update if there is a response. Hank Green, one of the longest running YouTube creators on the platform, tweeted on March 22nd that while viewership across all channels has increased about five percent over the last week, advertising revenue is down 30 percent. Other creators are worried their advertising revenue will also fall, but are looking into doing other forms of videos to try and continue entertaining fans.

“With me” videos first started appearing on YouTube in 2007, but didn’t really become a genre unto its own until 2010. People getting ready for school or work would upload their routine, including choosing outfits to wear or making breakfast. The idea was that people at home could do their own morning routine while watching their favorite creators. By 2014, “with me” videos focusing on productivity started to emerge, including “study with me” and “journal with me.” By last year, “paint with me” became the most popular creative-focused version of the format.

YouTube’s culture team has described “with me” videos as ways of making lonely tasks “opportunities for connection.” That may explain why there’s a boom in views and uploads right now. People stuck at home are looking for new ways to entertain themselves, while YouTubers who might normally film outside their homes are looking for interesting and fun ways to continue providing entertainment to subscribers.

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