‘Squeezie: Merci internet’: a portrait of a whole generation

On 19 January, the documentary series ‘Squeezie: Merci Internet’ was released, tracing the rise of France’s No. 1 youtuber, Squeezie. As well as the rise of the first generation of French youtubers. This 5-part series highlights the impact of these new media in creating a unique bond with the public, a phenomenon that traditional media and other generations sometimes struggle to understand.

#1 A documentary series on a meteoric rise

Squeezie, real name Lucas Hauchard, embodies the modern face of internet content creation in France. Starting out with gaming videos, he has moved on to more varied content worthy of great entertainment. His growth has been meteoric, paralleling the rise of YouTube. This video artist has managed to transcend the boundaries of the screen to become a true cultural icon. Today, his main channel has over 10 billion views and 18.7 million subscribers, won over by 1,600 videos posted since its creation in 2011.

As well as entertainment, the youtuber is demonstrating his impact on the digital ecosystem with the creation of his Bump agency and the organisation of major events such as the GP Explorer. This is an F4 competition at the Le Mans circuit between youtubers and streamers that has recorded a record audience on Twitch, with a peak of over 1.3 million people, and one million for the first edition.

#2 A success that reflects the buzz around content creators

Since the documentary’s release, the enthusiasm around its broadcast has been blatant: we note that the mention ‘Squeezie’ experiences a peak of 8,300 results on the digital sphere the day after its transmission on 20 January 2024. (Talkwalker).

Mentions of ‘Squeezie’ on various social networks and media from 25 December 2023 to 23 January 2024

An analysis of the online conversations and comments highlights several points about the content creator’s high profile and the public’s attachment to YouTube. Many creators have expressed their support for Squeezie, showing a strong sense of solidarity among them. These comments also highlight the happiness that videos on the platform bring and the positive influence that content creators have on the lives of their audience.

The release of the documentary series was also widely reported in the French press, including Libération, Le Parisien, Le Figaro, Le Point and many others.

The press unanimously picked up on the story, underlining Squeezie’s undisputed influence on the digital landscape. This widespread media coverage also confirms that Squeezie is not just a content creator, but a genuine cultural phenomenon who captures the attention of an entire generation and is an integral part of his audience’s lives.

#3 New media: a unique link between creators and their community

More than 2.4 billion people visit YouTube every month. The social network is also the second most popular platform in terms of time spent per month (27h26), behind TikTok (We Are Social / Meltwater). These figures demonstrate the massive and constant popularity of YouTube, reinforcing its status as a key platform in the global media landscape.

This documentary takes an in-depth look at how YouTube, as a major platform, has played a key role in shaping new media. It highlights how YouTube has given creators like Squeezie the opportunity to share their content authentically and creatively, using only a camera and their imagination. The emergence of YouTube and other platforms has transformed the way content is consumed.

On the platforms that have been emerging for over 10 years, creators are no longer simply distant figures on the screen, but accessible and familiar individuals. This proximity fosters a sense of belonging and community, strengthening the emotional bond between creator and audience.
#4 YouTube generation vs. television generation

‘Merci Internet’ also reflects a ‘conflict’ that has emerged over the years between traditional media and the new generations. For example, the documentary series tackles Thierry Ardisson’s famous controversy about youtubers.

In November 2017, Thierry Ardisson welcomed Squeezie to the set of his ‘Salut les Terriens’ show. The sequence took a peculiar turn with condescending comments from the presenter and doubts about the legitimacy of the job of content creator. Ardisson’s comments sparked controversy, revealing a lack of understanding of the importance and impact of the work of content creators and new delivery platforms.

The documentary therefore highlights how digital creators have reshaped the production and consumption of content. They are making more engaging connections with their audiences, as opposed to the often more distant relationship between traditional media and their audience. The generational gap between content creators and people attached to traditional media represents the current media evolution. This disparity reveals significant differences in the way different generations perceive and consume information and entertainment.

We can see that these two forms of entertainment consumption are beginning to blend. By inviting French public figures such as Marion Cotillard and Pierre Niney to take part in his famous ‘Qui est l’imposteur? format, Squeezie has captured the attention of the television world. He has succeeded in transforming his concept into a genuine promotional tool, comparable to traditional TV shows. The video with guests Eric and Ramzy even broke records, becoming the most watched video on YouTube in France in 2023 with 26 million views.

Through this documentary, the number 1 on YouTube is also seeking to explain to other generations the work and commitment required behind this new profession. Sometimes misunderstood, Squeezie is trying to help people understand what’s behind YouTube and to open up this world to all generations. The aim is to shift the influence and impact of television towards digital.

In a publication posted on X to announce the release of the documentary series, he points out that ‘for us it’s both a beautiful tribute to our generation, but also content that will help our parents and grandparents understand us better.’

This ground-breaking documentary series raises questions about the major challenge currently facing the media landscape and its impact on all generations. How can traditional media adapt and collaborate with the new generation of digital content creators? And how do we convince other generations, who are rooted in more traditional media and communications, to embrace these new media?