For $4.99 a month, the ScreenJunkies Plus subscription (from the “Honest Trailers” guys) offers fans the chance to watch Kevin Smith play with toys. The director, writer, and hockey jersey aficionado has a new YouTube show What’s in the Box?, which is basically just unboxing gone nerdy. It’s not bad, per se, but it’s the height (or something approaching the height) of digital excess.
Like a Netflix subscription that doesn’t get you Netflix, the ScreenJunkies subscription offers access to “premium” content that is largely undifferentiated from the free content on YouTube — except that Kevin Smith is there with on-screen pal Jason Mewes.
Smith isn’t universally beloved (remember Cop Out?) but he has an impressive record as an early adopter of new media. This is his first YouTube venture and he’s getting to the platform late, but to the subscription model early. He’s teaming up with a group that has five million subscribers so there is a “too big to fail” element to this exercise, which might actually be the main attraction for celebrities of Smith’s stature who command loyal followings.
It will be interesting to see how the show develops and whether or not Smith can leverage a new platform to…do something. And it might be funny.