If 2021 has been the year of Ibai Llanos (Bilbao, 1995), it began promptly on its first night, New Year’s Eve, when Ibai struck the bell and the bell. Its broadcast on the platform streaming Twitch had 552,000 devices connected during the grapes (supposedly with several viewers per screen), more than those of some commercial televisions, and far from having the same promotion or the same media. And it ended up similar, but better: he struck out with the classic Ramón García, dressed in his traditional Spanish cape, getting 800,000 connected devices and around 2.2 million people on the other side. An audience triumph conquered from below, one of those beautiful stories in which the Internet, which allows us to compete in a hypothetical equality, acts as a catalyst for the success of normal people. Ibai now has 7.5 million subscribers on YouTube and 8.5 million on Twitch.
This phenomenon highlights a couple of things. First, the peculiarities of internet fame: someone can be an idol for millions of young people and a complete stranger to a large part of the adult population, as happened with Ibai. Who was that kid who played David against the Goliaths of the big media groups? Online fame is more segmented, but it is still fame. “Before, someone could be famous for being on television and now they can be famous for being on YouTube,” explains the sociologist specializing in youth Mariano Urraco, a professor at the Madrid Distance University (UDIMA). “The environment has changed, because the world has changed”, continues the sociologist, “but the patterns are essentially the same: we see notoriety, we see success, we see people who get rich doing what they like and we do not see so much the effort or the planning behind it ”.
And the second lesson: the way of consuming information and audiovisual entertainment is changing, and the new generations are very prone to the new channels offered by the internet. In fact, many kids convinced their families to follow the grapes on Twitch. Then-star minister Salvador Illa, he tweeted, greeted the year by seeing Ibai in family company. “It was fun and we had a great time,” wrote the sober minister of pasta glasses.
Despite all the misunderstanding exists. “It is the law of life that the previous generation does not understand the next”, explains sociologist Liliana Arroyo, a researcher at the ESADE Institute for Social Innovation and an expert in digital transformation and social impact, “sometimes older generations see youtubers the transformation of certain values and they frame it as a loss ”. At the New Year’s Eve event, many parents were able to meet the streaming star their children were devoted to. During the year Ibai continued to gain notoriety, filling the pages of generalist newspapers, magazine covers or television programs. A milestone was the interview that Jordi Évole gave him visiting him at his home, broadcast in March. There Ibai became known among broad sectors of the public beyond the environment gamer from which he emerged, with his powerful voice and bonhomie, as one of the most popular video game commentators.
Showing off charisma, he was also able to show off his figure of streamer fiscally responsible, who pays their taxes in Spain, in contrast to other youtubers, such as El Rubius, who, igniting the controversy, move to Andorra, where taxation is lower. Ibai was born into a working family: knowing the hardships, efforts and troubles of those who work has made him understand the need for each one to pay what is due according to their income. His responsibility also includes the ways of being on the internet, which can leave many parents calm: Ibai is in favor of an internet without anger or bile, hence one of his mottos, turned into a song: “Toxicity out, bad vibes out” .
“The message that any public figure transmits through social networks reaches its audience without any type of filter, and the reception that that audience will make of that message is to a certain extent unpredictable,” explains Urraco. Not in vain are the terms of influencers and followers. That is why responsibility is a plus point in Ibai’s profile. Furthermore, beyond the contents of gamingIn search of being what they call a generalist “content creator”, Ibai has been innovating in its offer.
One of his most famous videos, already with some tradition, is the one in which he encourages students to face the university entrance tests with the impetus of a sports coach. From the chalet where he lives with his gang of cronies, he has offered home versions of shows like First dates, a podcast of conversations called Chatting quietly (through which figures such as Pau Gasol, Dani Martín or J Balvin have passed) or a boxing event in which two faced youtubers related, Reven against Elmillor, and whose audience Twich collapsed, as if Ibai turned everything he touched into gold (in the form of an audience). He has even successfully organized a delusional World of Balloons (which consists of a competition in which you play with a balloon without touching the ground) with his friend the soccer player Gerard Piqué. Peru won, and President Pedro Castillo sent his congratulations. Is this the TV of the future?
A new controversy came when soccer superstar Lionel Messi offered a small exclusive interview to Ibai upon his arrival at Paris Saint-Germain, which raised blisters among Spanish sports journalism, who felt that the streamer He was passing them on the shoulder. Ibai discussed the matter online with the aggrieved Juanma Castaño, a sports journalist from Cope, as well as the last winner of Masterchef (ex equally with Miki Nadal). “Anger has to do with the tendency to judge and disapprove of languages and formats that we do not understand from the adult-centered view,” explains Arroyo, “however, it is not only a matter of age, other elements intervene such as social positioning: the more privileged you are in the current status quo, it will be more difficult for you to understand and accept new ways of operating that are detrimental to your privilege ”.
Ibai’s career is projected dazzling. After the new success of New Year’s Eve, his bet is to recover the legendary program Grand Prize in the company of Ramón García, who seems enthusiastic about the young Llanos. Ibai says that he does not want to compete on TV, but the curiosity is to know if he will be able to overcome the large media groups from his home.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.