YouTube launches $5m production fund

Online video site YouTube has launched a US$5 million production fund for digital producers, marking the first time it has funded original content.

The move will see the Google-owned site offer its 10,000 video partners financial backing to create original digital content, a significant change in Google's strategy of merely being a distribution platform.

YouTube partner development manager George Strompolos said: "We've been amazed by the creativity and resourcefulness of many of our partners. Some, operating on shoe string budgets, have been able to produce incredible videos, generate substantial revenues and command an audience that rivals that of network television.

"This new creative class often manages 360 degrees of their business operations, from the writing filming and producing of their content to the marketing, post-production and distribution of their videos. Despite their success, many partners lack the resources and deep financial backing available to studio-backed production houses."

The site is looking at factors including number of video views and subscriber numbers and is then asking partners to submit a proposal that will have a distribution and marketing plan.