Today, Studio71 UK, a Red Arrow Studios company, reveals its largest ever creator-led project in BETA SQUAD – an online reality project with five rising creators which sees all members embark on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. In March, creators Chunkz, Niko Omilana, King Kenny, AJ Shabeel and Sharky – all of which have individual channels and who are signed exclusively to the Studio71 network and managed by its agency, Moxie management – will leave their family homes for the first time to live in a state-of-the-art mansion at a secret location in London, England.
Over a period of 12 months, the five personalities will create daily content streams for a number of platforms including YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat all under the social handle BetaSquad5 while continuing to publish via their own channels. It will be the UK’s single biggest online collaborative creator project with a media company ever, and Studio71 UK’s largest investment in a creator project since it was launched in 2017 BETA SQUAD will support five diverse and different voices from the UK creator space who individually and collectively cover conversations of importance to young people across comedy, entertainment, music, gaming, fashion and sports.
BETA SQUAD will tap into an important shared discourse and audience pool, representing young BAME personalities from the UK – voices that have historically been overlooked by traditional media. Characters in the House include the daring, 20-year-old documentarian Niko Omilana (633,000 subscribers), who has seen a massive rise in popularity over the past year for his satirical documentary videos which include going under-cover in the EDL, antagonising Trump supporters and gaining unauthorised red-carpet access at this year’s BAFTA awards. He’s joined by Chunkz (533,000 subs), an Island Records-signed singer and comedian who already has a number of content streams under his belt – namely, the hilarious Cooking with Chunkz – and has previously collaborated with the likes of Big Shaq. Extreme gamer and comedy vlogger, King Kenny (1.7 million subs) will also enter the house, along with challenge master AJ Shabeel (119,000 subs) and sports-obsessed Sharky (224,000). The five creators are already friends and feature regularly in each other’s content, but this new initiative will allow them to develop continuous and cross-over storylines, longstanding brand partnerships and audience engagement. This major new initiative has also seen significant production investment from global media company Studio71, including the use of a £4 million, state of the art house in London.
James Stafford, Studio71 UK Managing Director says, “The launch of BETA SQUAD is our biggest creator investment to date. We are excited to experiment with a new reality concept that challenges the creative potential of online content while opening up exciting opportunities for brands and partners. In a climate where there is uncertainty around influencers and influencer marketing, and when many online brands are struggling to prove commercial viability, we see this initiative as a way to contribute to the creator ecosphere, while demonstrating our confidence in the future faces of entertainment.”
BETA SQUAD has been six months in the making and is one of several unique projects Studio71 UK will launch in the space in 2019, as it develops new ways to reach underserved audiences, specifically in the 18-35 bracket.
The project has been set for launch in March 2019, with a number of promotional clips teased via social media in the run-up to the announcement. The project comes off the back of four successful podcasts launches from Studio71 UK in 2018 – including the widely lauded ‘F**ks Given’ podcast with sexual wellness YouTubers Come Curious and ‘Power Hour’ hosted by influencer, fitness coach and Adidas ambassador Adrienne Herbert – both of which now have downloads in the six-figure mark. This year sees the release of three new BBC online commissions in the coming weeks, all starring influencers from the digital space and including the formats ‘Sex in Seconds’, ‘Fashion Conscious’ and ‘Period Dramas’. Studio71 hopes to replicate its successes with the arrival of this new concept, BETA SQUAD.