By Sahil Patel
As we reported back in July, YouTube has decided to re-enter the original programming game in an effort to attract more premium ad dollars to the site.
But, as we said then, this isn’t just another instance of YouTube courting “outsiders” — famous names and faces from the traditional-media world — to create high-quality content for the site. Instead, YouTube is now more interested in giving some of its top talent money to create new content across a variety of formats, from web series to feature-length films.
Most of this was confirmed in a vague blog post published by YouTube’s head of originals Alex Carloss, who said: “We feel the time is right to make another important investment in our creators. That’s why we’ve decided to fund new content from some of our top creators, helping them not only fulfill their creative ambitions but also deliver new material to their millions of fans on YouTube.”
What shouldn’t get lost in that statement, though, is the fact that by funding projects that some of its top creators are interested in, YouTube hopes to make it more difficult for creators to be lured away by potential competitors — like Facebook.
In fact, it’s all part of a broader effort by YouTube in 2014 to shine a greater spotlight on its native stars. The company has also been funding off-platform marketing campaigns for top creators and channels, including Bethany Mota, Michelle Phan, Vice News, and “Epic Rap Battles of History.”
YouTube also plans to expand those efforts into international markets. “These campaigns started in the US, but we’re now extending them to places like the UK, France, Germany, and Brazil to ensure that creators around the world can continue to serve as beacons for the creator community at large,” said Carloss.
While Carloss did not expand on how much YouTube plans to spend on any new content deals, sources previously suggested they are in the low-to-mid seven-figure range. In addition to featuring top talent, the content will also be meant for YouTube, though by experimenting with different formats, the site is also open to content that could also work on other platforms (after the YouTube run, of course).