Actor and social media phenom George Takei has teamed up with AARP to produce a biweekly YouTube series, Takei's Take, which will focus on "technology, what's trending and what's hot on the Web."
Takei and AARP hope to draw on his cross-generational appeal to attract viewers on YouTube, while also providing older Americans with engaging video content.
According to AARP, Takei's Take "takes a smart, funny, irreverent look at what is happening in the world of the Internet and how it infiltrates our lives."
In it, Takei will "navigate the ever-changing online landscape and procure topics for further investigation," AARP says.
The first episode on Google Glass, which also features the "world's funniest tech reporter" Lamarr Wilson, generated 19,000 views in its first day and was up to 28,000 views and counting by September 18.
Additional potential topics for Takei's Take include online dating, memes and GIFs, AARP says.
Fullscreen and Portal A will produce and write the series, which will primarily be shot at YouTube's Los Angeles facility.
According to AARP Vice President of Social Communications and Strategy Tammy Gordon, the point is not to heavily push AARP, but rather introduce its members to new technology, as well as to entertain them.
After launching September 17, the channel had 20,000 subscribers the following day.
"Takei has a personality and following beyond AARP," Gordon says. "What we love about his Facebook page was this idea that on a daily basis, he captures what's going on in technology and the world in his voice."
Takei has 4.6 million likes on Facebook and 819,000 Twitter followers.
A Facebook post about the AARP partnership on Takei's page generated nearly 16,000 likes.
According to Gordon, AARP was analyzing its social media channels at the end of 2012 and decided it wanted to build up subscribers and increase watch time, so it switched strategies from a brand channel with video from web and TV shows to a direct-to-YouTube strategy and started to build out its network of shows. It launched the Cheap Life Channel in January 2013 with "Ultimate Cheapskate" Jeff Yeager, which says it is focused on "living the good life, only at a fraction of the cost." The channel was based off of a column in AARP Magazine and has about 15,000 subscribers and more than 1 million views as of September 18.
The Cheap Life Channel will continue to produce content. Gordon says each show that launches will include a pilot episode and a test run.
A press release says Takei's Take primarily targets the 45+ crowd, but Gordon notes Takei appeals to many generations.
@AARP has 68,000 followers and 1.1 million likes.
The effort was featured in AARP Magazine, as well as across AARP's social channels. Takei also participated in a chat on HuffPost Live to talk about the project.
AARP says it is a nonprofit nonpartisan organization with a membership of more than 37 million that is focused on the way people view and live life after 50.
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March 19, 2014