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Cat Videos Are a Cottage Industry


Looking at cute animal photos and videos at work may or may not be making you more productive, but it’s certainly making their owners a lot richer — some of them, anyway.

cat videos 

(Photo Credit: dougwoods/Flickr)

Alternet reports on a panel session at SXSW, which featured Scott Stulen, curator of the Internet Cat Video Festival, a live showing of kitty vids that sold 3,000 more tickets at the Minnesota State Fair than Depeche Mode. (Sigh, and fill in your own Spinal Tap joke here.)

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The panel also featured Will Braden, proprietor of the YouTube channel Henri le Chat Noir, who makes money off of ad revenue and tie-in merchandise.

“In no way did I ever think this was going to be a career, or any money was going to come out of it,” said Braden, who posted the first Henri video six years ago. “I just thought how exciting it was that I was getting millions of views for this video.”

Specific salary figures are hard to come by, although Braden cautions that his cat’s high CPMs don’t necessarily translate to wealth. In addition, the more successful cat empires, e.g. Grumpy Cat, require a combination of adorable felines and owners with industry know-how or access to someone, an agent or similar, who knows how to play the game.

Still, in an age when the internet is frequently accused of destroying jobs, it’s at least a little heartening to hear of a few new, if niche, industries arising from it.

Anyway, it’s a fun daydream — and a familiar one.

“It’s common to compare the Internet’s star-making power to that of Hollywood,” writes Kelly Faircloth at Jezebel. “But perhaps a better comparison is Old Hollywood, a place where wild fortunes were conjured out of thin air, where studio execs managed to convince an entire nation that, at any moment, a hometown gal could be plucked from a drugstore and made into a star. That era is long, long gone — but hey, your cat can still make it big! Don’t go west, young man. Get yourself on Reddit!”

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What’s the craziest business that’s come from the internet so far, in your opinion? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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