YouTube has announced plans to fund new content from its top creators.
The site has grown from a social media site for creative teenagers in their bedrooms to a leading platform for online video, welcoming 1 billion unique users every month. And it plans to keep growing by harnessing that creativity.
That focus has always been part of the site’s strategy. In recent years, YouTube has already put money into several channels to build a “creator ecosystem”, 86 of which are now among the top 1 percent of YouTube’s most popular. It then went on to launch YouTube Spaces in L.A., Tokyo and London, which give free access for creators to top-notch production equipment.
In 2014, YouTube expanded its support to “full-scale marketing and advertising campaigns”, says Alex Carloss, Head of YouTube Originals, “helping turn successful creators with large fan bases like Bethany Mota and Epic Rap Battles of History into household names, broadening their appeal to new audiences”.
These campaigns, which started in America, are extending to the UK, France, Germany and Brazil.
“Now, we feel the time is right to make another important investment in our creators,” writes Carloss on the YouTube blog. “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.”
YouTube are not the only ones backing YouTube stars, though: Lionsgate just picked up global distribution rights to The Smosh Movie, a feature-length spin-off from YouTube comedy partners Anthony Padilla and Ian Hecox. The production is partly financed by AwesomenessTV, who were recently acquired by DreamWorks Animation to power the studio’s new original content on the site.
YouTube clearly believes that its creators’ potential is ripe for investment. With Smosh bringing in 30 million combined subscribers and 12 million monthly unique website visitors, though, the industry outside of YouTube is realising the same thing.