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The Young Turks: Online News Is Going Mainstream

The Young Turks – Online News:
The Young Turks (TYT) is an online news network that focuses on news and current events. It has a cult following as it has an anti-establishment stance and provides commentary on American politics, foreign policy, breaking news, as well as social commentary on domestic USA and foreign topics. The network’s flagship news program is also called The Young Turks and they produce various other network programs including Think Tank, TYT Sports (sports), What The Flick?! (movies), Pop Trigger (entertainment), TYT University (college life) and many more. Some of the issues that the flagship TYT show focuses on include the influence of money in politics, drug policy, social security, the privatization of public services, climate change, the influence of religion, abortion and reproductive rights, civil rights and issues of injustice towards people of color and sexual minorities, sexual morality, and the influence of corporations, neutrality and establishment political thought on traditional news media.

This cult American show’s YouTube channel has received almost 4 billion views in total and over 2 million views per day. The show is hosted live online 6-8pm EST. It is available on both YouTube and the TYT Network, as well as streaming services Hulu, Roku and Pluto TV. You may be surprised to learn that TYT was the first original talk show on Sirius satellite radio in 2002 and the first live, daily webcast on the internet in 2006. The show is currently co-hosted by Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian, who are often accompanied by various in-studio contributors. Cenk is Turkish American while Ana is Armenian American.


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Above: Cenk Uygur on the TYT YouTube channel

Source: YouTube – The Young Turks


What Is The Story Behind The Young Turks?

The name The Young Turk is defined by the American Heritage Dictionary as: 1) young progressive or insurgent member of an institution, movement, or political party, and 2) young person who rebels against authority or societal expectations. The three TYT co-founders Cenk Uygur, Ben Mankiewicz and Dave Poller originally set up TYT as a radio talk show on Sirius Satellite Radio in 2002. Cenk and Dave were childhood friends while Ben was a friend that Cenk had previously worked with. When TYT became a live stream news show in 2006, it was initially based out of Cenk’s living room. They later moved to a small office in Los Angeles (LA) after the show had enough financing to hire a limited number of staff. The show was later provided a larger studio space in LA by Current TV before temporarily relocating to YouTube Space LA. An Indiegogo campaign saw TYT raise $400k to construct a new studio in LA which was completed in June 2015.  


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Above: some recent TYT video clips

Source: YouTube – The Young Turks


How Is The Young Turks Financed? What Is Their Business Model?

TYT’s annual revenues are split from advertising revenues, paid subscriptions, and financing raised from venture capitalists and crowdfunding campaigns. TYT is trying to monetize their programming through multiple distribution channels rather than relying on 1-2 larger channels like YouTube or cable tv distribution. As stated above, TYT raised $400k in an October 2013 Indiegogo campaign to build a new studio. This compares to their initial fundraising target of $250k. The show launched a TYT network app on Roku in July 2013 and it began offering content on Hulu in April 2014.


Since then TYT has attracted investments from private equity and venture capital firms. It received $4m in investment in 2014 from Roemer, Robinson, Melville & Co, a private equity firm. In 2016-2017, it raised $2m through a five month crowdfunding campaign to hire four further investigative teams. In August 2017, TYT raised a further $20m in venture capital funding from WndrCo, Greycroft, 3L and other investment firms in order to hire additional management executives and creative talent, to enhance its subscription video offering, and to expand marketing initiatives.


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Above: some of the other TYT Network channels

Source: YouTube – The Young Turks


Personal Opinion:

The Young Turks is a great example of the changing media landscape. People in the USA who watch mainstream news tend to be older in age while the younger millennials have opted for alternative news sources such as TYT or Vice. For example, the best rated cable tv news show in the USA was Bill O’Reilly’s “The O’Reilly Factor” on Fox News where the average age of viewers was 72 which compares to an average life expectancy of 78 years for American males. On the other hand, 80% of TYT’s viewers are under 35 years of age. The reasons behind these trends are simple, mainstream media such as television news is conservative, supports the political establishment and ignores the vast majority of Americans who do not share these views.


TYT has grown from one single show to a network of over 30 different owned and operated channels. It remains the highest ranked independent news and politics channel on YouTube. The appeal of investing in YTT to private equity and venture capital firms is easy to understand, its paid subscription membership base is predominantly millennials (an age demographic that most companies have struggled to target) and the data shows long watching times. I personally stopped watching tv a long time ago and consume almost all of my information online. For those of you that want to hear a more progressive American point of view, try watching some clips of TYT or their other channels on YouTube and be sure to share your comments with the giffgaffers below.


Feedback From The giffgaff Community:

Which news providers do you read, watch or listen to? Do you source your news from the TV, internet or another medium? Do you think alternative online news is the way of the future instead of massive media corporation dominated television news?


Thanks for reading!

Jeff Elephant


Jeff Avatar - Nov 2016.jpg  Jeff loves tech, wine, exercise and travel. He posts every Friday morning.


A bunch of neo marxist whiners, can't stand them.


We need more impartial, non biased, factual news, not less.


"anti-establishment stance" hahaha... good one mate!

heavy hitter

@jeff_elephant Thanks for the well-constructed post.


I have watched a few clips from Young Turks in the past, but just felt as if they presented opinions as facts.


Some of their views aligned with mine but I like to know what 'the other side' think even if I might not agree. 


The Young Turks are very biased and are clearly democrats. This is fine for liberals because it echoes their own beliefs, but it doesn't open the doors for dialogue between two groups. For instance, I want to know why people voted for Trump and not just dismiss them as being 'misguided'.


Interesting piece. The trend for internet news tend to be more opinion bases stories rather than factual based material which is a worrying trend. Chuck fake news into the equation, you need to be very careful where you getting your news and information from. Both sides of every story should be covered too to give a neutral, unbiased view. Still, they say that you should never let the facts get in the way of a good story!


The Young Turks are awful. They are clearly highly biased and use vulgar language to prop up their often weak arguments. They are truly one of the worst of the new wave of organised news outlets I've watched on YouTube. 


I guess if you're into cultural Marxism, SJW opinion, Third Wave Feminism Hillary Clinton, etc then you might find them entertaining especially when their fat star goes on a rant. 😀

rocket scientist

Thanks, looks interesting and if nothing else it's great to see a Turk and an Armenian working together. Smiley Happy


We need to disrupt the media. It's way too corporate driven!