YouTube kicks off another major content funding push
Michelle Clancy
| 20 September 2014
Four years after its launch, about 1 billion viewers visit YouTube every month, while its daily ‘watch time’ continues to grow at 50% annually.

Against this backdrop, the video juggernaut has announced new funding for professional content from its top creators.

“As any creator will tell you, making compelling new content isn’t easy, and we expect to learn a lot through this process,” said Alex Carloss, head of YouTube Originals, in a blog post. “We’ll experiment with new formats and ideas. We’ll get our hands dirty. We’ll make some mistakes. Together, we’ll (hopefully) create some fantastic new content on YouTube.”

The move (the funding amount is unspecified) is the latest in a series of investments that YouTube has made in its channels since 2011 to jumpstart the creator ecosystem. The gambit has apparently worked: three years after sinking $100 million into professional content development, 86 of the original recipients are now among the top 1% of YouTube’s most popular, Carloss said.

The decision to fund its existing top producers is not a new idea: last year YouTube decided to take a $40 to $50 million investment stake in one of its top partners, the VEVO music video channel.

Other investments include the creation of YouTube Spaces in LA, Tokyo, London and soon New York, which offer creators free access to equipment, sets and support to facilitate creativity and content innovation. And, this year it has added full-scale marketing and advertising campaign support.

Overall, the company’s approach has changed dramatically since its launch.

“We’ve seen the fidelity of our videos evolve from the grainy footage of webcams to the crystal clear beauty of 4K. We’ve seen teenagers who began by vlogging in their bedrooms emerge as media heavyweights, with passionate followings and shows that draw more fans than similar shows on cable TV. And we’ve seen partner revenue continue to grow at a healthy pace, giving our creators the chance to do what they love by finding their fan-base on YouTube,” said Carloss.