Inside The Sidemen’s Netflix Deal 📽️

We called up the creator group’s manager Jordan Schwarzenberger

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The Sidemen’s Manager Dishes on New Netflix Documentary

From left to right) Ethan “Behzinga” Payne, Josh “Zerkaa” Bradley, Vikram “Vikkstar” Barn, KSI, Harry “W2S” Lewis, Simon “Minimeter” Minster, and Toby “TBJZL” Brown star in a documentary about becoming The Sidemen / Netflix

Last week, British YouTube supergroup The Sidemen revealed a teaser for a new documentary, The Sidemen Story, that follows the seven creators’ decade-long journey with behind-the-scenes footage and interviews.

Netflix acquired the doc and will distribute it starting in the U.K. on February 14.

To hear more about how this Netflix deal came together, we chatted with The Sidemen’s manager, Jordan Schwarzenberger →

Why Netflix: The Sidemen wanted to celebrate their 10th anniversary by rolling out the doc on a “premium level.” Netflix, on the other hand, saw the project as “a great introduction to the creator economy…[and an] opportunity for it to speak to a much broader audience than a specifically YouTube or youth audience per se,” Schwarzenberger told us.

Photography via Jordan Schwarzenberger

How the distribution deal works: With creative control in mind, The Sidemen funded the film and made it themselves rather than go the “commission route,” where a company like Netflix oversees production.

  • This structure allowed the group to bring in YouTube’s former content chief in Europe and a past Sidemen collaborator Luke Hyams as director. 

  • It also ensures The Sidemen own the rights to release the doc on their own YouTube channel down the line.

What it means for creators moving forward: Deals like this one and MrBeast’s reported tie-in with Amazon Prime Video will empower creators to showcase their unique forms of creativity to new viewers, Schwarzenberger said.

“It [will] hopefully be a good case study of what’s possible…it’d be amazing one day if The Sidemen could do more executive producing on shows where they can actually help creatively build these things at scale, as well as just leverage their audience,” he told us.

Sidetalk Takes on Podcast Production

Trent Simonian (left) Jack Byrne (second from left) of street interview show Sidetalk produce Roommates Show (right) / Photography by Ari Elgharsi, Roommates Show

New York street show Sidetalk has teamed up with production company Playmaker to launch Roommates Show, a video podcast starring NY Knicks players Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart.

The dynamic: Sidetalk creators Trent Simonian and Jack Byrne will work on episode ideation and segments, while Playmaker will manage shooting and editing.

“We’re helping add a little bit of that Sidetalk, outside-of-the-box twist to episodes,” Simonian told us. For instance, fans can expect to see Sidetalk regulars like sandwich-making Cug and Nems (who coined the popular “bing bong” phrase). Sidetalk will also gather questions from New Yorkers on the street.

Why it works: Sidetalk has a finger on the pulse of NYC, particularly among Knicks fans (some of their most popular videos are in front of Madison Square Garden after games). 

Making NYC a character in Roommates will differentiate it from other professional athlete podcasts like the Kelce brothers’ New Heights and Marlon Humphrey’s Punchline.

Looking ahead: Working on the podcast lets Simonian and Byrne test the waters on longform video. 

“It’s showing that we can do stuff beyond man-on-the-street content or having a really cool playlist on Spotify or throwing a concert in NYC with Quavo,” Simonian said. “Our goal has always been to expand Sidetalk beyond just the videos and create a network, so this is a really exciting step.”

Creators 🤝 News Media

Vitus “V” Spehar (left) of UnderTheDeskNews joins Betches news director Amanda Duberman (right) to co-host, American Fever Dream, a podcast covering pop culture and the 2024 election / Betches

Vitus “V” Spehar of popular TikTok news account UnderTheDeskNews is joining entertainment brand Betches to cover the 2024 election.

  • The details: Betches and Spehar will launch the American Fever Dream podcast, co-hosted by Spehar and Betches news director Amanda Duberman, on February 13. They’ll break down political news stories, state and local elections, and pop culture in weekly episodes. 

  • Their goal? Cure “the collective malaise brought on by our chaotic political environment.” 

Big picture: More people than ever are getting their news from creators…while traditional news media continue to nose dive. Partnerships like this one illustrate a potential future for news media, one in which creators and media brands play to their respective strengths—be they engaging an audience or committing to rigorous journalism.

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The content we’re looking forward to reading, watching, and listening to this weekend.

  • Read: GQ profiles Cole Bennett of Lyrical Lemonade, outlining his rise to fame and the making of his new album All Is Yellow.

  • Watch: Casey Neistat released a film that documents his impossible, 17-year-long dream—running a marathon in under three hours.

  • Listen: Game Theory’s MatPat and Stephanie discussed why now was the right time to retire from YouTube on the latest episode of The Colin and Samir Show.

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