Ibai Llanos the Trailblazer in Media Hybridization
Sports broadcasting titans were left in shock on August 2021, when Ibai Llanos, a Spanish streamer (one of the top ten most watched global content creators on Twitch) conducted the first interview given by Leo Messi. Wearing the PSG shirt after his dramatic departure from FC Barcelona, Ibai was somehow ahead of the most renowned and traditionally respected sports press. With one interview, his popularity skyrocketed and Ibai established himself as a hybrid media phenomenon, crowned as a best-in-class specialist on new communication.
But just who is Ibai Llanos? He started playing video games at his parents' house in northern Spain to later become a caster in eSports competitions. His approachable personality and spontaneity made him worthy of great popularity among the younger audience. After his resignation from the G2 Artic team, he created a Streamer’s Mansion where he and a group of his friends and content creators began to turn current communication upside down, challenging the status quo, and igniting a silent rebellion against mainstream media.
Where is Ibai Llanos now?
Ibai now manages a diverse set of entertainment properties. Together with his partner Gerard Piqué who is a FC Barcelona player and businessman, he purchased Copa America & League 1 streaming rights for broadcasting the competition on his Twitch channel, he has interviewed the trendiest sports and music personalities, and has even made his own version of a high-ratings national television dating show.
Named by Forbes Spain as the best influencer of 2021, one of his most recent events was an amateur boxing tournament among streamers that garnered more than 1.5 million live viewers. Step by step, he has become a creative media phenomenon not only for Spanish younger audiences but for the whole Spanish-speaking community, with an influence that transcends generations. He has achieved what few have done before. Successfully creating a hybridization between Internet and traditional media, he has caused media and brands to take Internet-only content production seriously and not as a simple extension of existing formats, making traditional media rethink their own operation and strategies in a short to medium term.
What does the future of hybrid media communications look like?
Llanos is the best example of the emerging transformation of communication; he offers a unique combination of access to global and local content with unprecedented success, all without erasing cultural identity. Inherently, we are seeing consumers being more drawn to communication that is leveraged on universality and defends immediacy, truth and spontaneity, sharpness, and proximity. Humans are constantly motivated by this type of communication - one that feels boutique, inherently personal and uniquely ours. It uses current news as a propellant, making its way through the mass of mobile devices, webcams and mobile connectivity forming the infrastructure that enables a widespread social diffusion of these new entertainment and cultural consumption habits.
The phenomenon proves to brands that communication is more appealing and natural when there is room for co-creative spaces between new formats and traditional. When collaborative hybridization is generated between traditional powers and the newest vision which will be increasingly present in the communication and hybrid media landscape, the results could just be an exclusive interview with the world’s best footballer.
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