Today’s opening of the film Dirty 30 provides the latest example of the Internet helping grow the entertainment industry by providing new talent, distribution channels, and marketing opportunities. The film stars what has been called YouTube’s “Holy Trinity,” Mamrie Hart, Grace Helbig, and Hannah Hart, and it is being released through streaming sites as well as movie theatres.

Hannah Hart first entered the public eye through her YouTube series My Drunk Kitchen. The series began in 2011 when Hart recorded herself talking to a friend by webcam while drinking a glass of wine and making a grilled cheese sandwich without any cheese. She uploaded the video to YouTube, and within a few days it accumulated over 100,000 hits.

The popularity of that initial video led to the series My Drunk Kitchen, which parodies cooking shows. She has hosted celebrity guests (including real chefs), and received a Streamy Award in 2013 for the best female performance in an online comedy. Her channel MyHarto has over 2.3 million subscribers and 200 million views.

Hart leveraged the success of My Drunk Kitchen into a second channel, YourHarto, which features her travels and her life experiences. She funded a world tour featured on YourHarto through the crowdfunding site Indiegogo.

Mamrie Hart—no relation to Hannah—also gained public recognition through the Internet. In 2011 she started her YouTube channel You Deserve a Drink, where she posts weekly humorous videos about mixing cocktails.

To alleviate boredom while she was house-sitting in South Orange, New Jersey, in 2007, Grace Helbig began a daily “vlog” which she posted to YouTube. That led to the DailyGrace and it’sGrace YouTube channels. She has over 3 million subscribers and 220 million views.

The three have used the Internet in other ways to reach new audiences. In 2013 they performed together in a comedy show, No Filter, which they encouraged the audience to tape and upload to social media sites. The popularity of the show on Tumblr and YouTube led to successful live tours in 2014 and 2015.

The three performers teamed up again in 2013 to produce and star in the film Camp Takota, which was released for digital download from the film’s website in 2014.

Hannah Hart crossed over to traditional media in 2014 with the publication of a parody self-help book, My Drunk Kitchen: A Guide to Eating, Drinking, and Going with Your Gut. The book made both the New York Times Best Sellers List and the Publishers Weekly Bestsellers List.

Mamrie Hart also published a book, You Deserve a Drink: Boozy Misadventures and Tales of Debauchery, in 2015.

Lionsgate, the largest “mini-major” film studio in the United States, is releasing Dirty 30 today in theatres and through streaming sites. According to Variety, “as with other movies featuring digital stars, Lionsgate is banking on the social reach of the talent to spur fans to buy movie tickets, digital downloads or DVDs.”

Of course, popularity on the Internet is no guarantee of success in more traditional entertainment formats. Grace Helbig’s talk show on the E! network, for example, lasted only eight episodes.

Nonetheless, as Dirty 30 shows (and as I’ve written previously about Broad City and Fifty Shades of Grey), the Internet is an important source of new talent for the traditional entertainment industry. (As well as co-starring in the film, Mamrie Hart helped write it.)

The Internet also is a low cost distribution medium. In addition to its theatrical release, Dirty 30 will also be available today for streaming on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, FandangoNow, CinemaNow, and Vudu.

Finally, the Internet is a promotional vehicle; trailers for Dirty 30 appear on its stars’ popular YouTube channels. And no doubt, after the film’s release, more clips and interviews with the stars will be available on YouTube and other social media sites to continue to push the film.

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