Network operator, Cell C, has announced a reality TV show for the internet in which the mobile operator will search for the next big South African YouTuber.

The winner will walk away with R250 000 in prize money.

The competition opens up to South Africans on 15th September and can be entered by uploading a 60 second video to the Cell C Reality app for Android and iOS. If you’re under 18 or have a channel with more than 5 000 subscribers however, this competition is closed to you.

On the 15th October, entries will close and 30 candidates will be selected to form a shortlist of contestants who will move forward.

Then things get interesting.

From the 23rd October, and every Sunday night until 4th December, contestants will be given tasks by Derick Watts and the Sunday Blues. These tasks must be completed by way of a three minute video that must be uploaded within 48 hours of the task being issued.

Should a contestant not be able to upload a video in those 48 hours they will be immediately disqualified.

That is rather harsh seeing as its likely that many folks might have jobs and scripting, filming and editing a YouTube video isn’t exactly the easiest thing, even if it is only three minutes long.

Other methods of disqualification include tampering with views, uploading videos with offensive and/or defamatory content and racist content.

Qualifying videos will be judged according to the amount of hits they receive. Simply put: the more hits you have, the more likely you are to move forward in the show.

The winner of the contest will walk away with R250 000 in prize money and a trip to Hollywood, Los Angeles, worth R50 000.

Lightning in a bottle

Call us cynical but this seems like Idols, for YouTube. It’s also rather worrying that Cell C is promising to put contestants in front of millions of viewers, on a platform it has no control over.

There’s nothing unique Cell C is offering here, in fact given the terms and the conditions of the competition seem rather restrictive, i.e. If you use a naughty swear, you could be disqualified. Hell, Cell C even has a clause in the terms and conditions which give it the right to use the content you create for any purpose it wishes, including selling and licensing the content out.

While this is standard procedure in most competitions, when you start laying claim to YouTube videos and monetisation through advertising revenue gets involved, it can become a sticky business.

Also, all this talk of  “going viral” is worrisome as nobody, not even the folks at YouTube, can tell you why a video like Gangnam Style (2.6 billion views) or “Charlie bit my finger” (800 million views) proved to be as popular as they were. Of course there are certain things you can do to make your videos more popular but viral? Colour us cynical for the time being.

Oh well, at least somebody is doing something to bring South Africa into the newer age of media. Guess its time to fire up the webcam and start making movies. Watch your back Casey Niestat.