- Twitter lifts ‘permanent’ suspension of activist Barrett Brown Monday 5:52 PM
- Billie Eilish fans fend off objectifying comments on tank top photo Monday 5:32 PM
- Groom’s mother sabotages wedding by tricking guests into wearing jorts and hoodies Monday 4:39 PM
- No one believes Bill de Blasio’s son sent him these debate prep texts Monday 3:26 PM
- Meek Mill, Jay-Z to release ‘Free Meek’ documentary on Amazon Prime Monday 3:20 PM
- 3 ways to secure your Nest cameras Monday 3:15 PM
- This Pokémon generator site is creating hilarious monsters Monday 2:48 PM
- MrBeast impersonator tricks kid into destroying his XBox Monday 12:50 PM
- This mom has the perfect nickname for her nonbinary kid Monday 12:25 PM
- Netflix tests pop-out player that will allow viewers to multitask Monday 11:44 AM
- Man allowed to sue media publishers over readers’ Facebook comments Monday 11:42 AM
- Republicans slammed for joke about ‘heavily armed militia’ at Oregon statehouse Monday 11:30 AM
- New bill wants tech companies to tell you how much your data is worth Monday 10:53 AM
- AOC has the best response to Steve King’s ‘concentration camp’ criticism Monday 10:19 AM
- Did Jake Paul and Tana Mongeau just get engaged? Monday 9:26 AM
A venture capitalist claims Google’s budget for new channels exceeds $200 million.
Google’s big-bucks plan to push more professional video on YouTube may be even more ambitious than we thought.
At a panel at Streaming Media West, an industry conference, venture capitalist Mark Suster claimed that YouTube is spending more than $200 million on professionally produced channels, more than double the $100 million figure previously reported.
Historically, YouTube has split advertising revenue with video creators in its YouTube Partners program. The difference now: YouTube is giving cash in advance to bankroll projects, betting that they’ll earn money over time.
YouTube confirmed the project’s existence at the end of October. Among those partnering with YouTube to create original, exclusive content for the site are Madonna, Shaquille O’Neal, Amy Poehler, and a slew of popular YouTubers. The site announced a similar partnership with Disney.
From Google’s perspective, getting high-quality, exclusive content from well-known stars and companies should translate to more eyeballs on its site for a longer period of time (and higher ad revenue).
The increasing commercialization of the site, which Google bought in 2006 for $1.65 bilion, shouldn’t be surprising. Google CEO Larry Page admitted in an earnings call last week that YouTube revenue is nowhere near the level the company wants it to be.
However, the focus on premium content hasn’t sat well with some YouTubers. They worry the site is abandoning its users by moving away from the authentic user-generated content it’s known for in favor of paying celebrities and professional content creators millions of dollars to make videos.
“YouTube is already distinguished from all other media platforms because it encourages creative content from the users. From YOU. The name isn’t televisiontube. It isn’t supposed to be about watching television on the Internet; it’s supposed to be about the user creating amazing things and being able to put them up on a place where someone who isn’t a major celebrity can have an audience.”
While that may be a concern for some, the fact is that professional content doesn’t have to displace other kinds. Unlike a cable system’s fixed lineup of channels, there’s room for everything on YouTube—from clips of people timing themselves completing challenges while their neighbors are having sex to videos that inspire others into action to celebrity date requests.
The user-generated aspect of YouTube isn’t going away. If YouTubers don’t want to view exclusive content from professional creators, they don’t have to watch it; the only one who will lose out is Google, which is gambling that a company run by engineers knows how to pick hits. If people tune out and watch nerdy wedding proposals instead, so be it.
Meanwhile, maybe YouTube should think about diverting some of its cash towards Vevo to keep its most popular content—music videos—from decamping to Facebook. That’d certainly help to keep its users happy.
Photo by bfishadow
Based in Montreal, Kris Holt has been writing about technology and web culture since 2010. He writes for Engadget and Tech News World, and his byline has also appeared in Paste, Salon, International Business Times, Mashable, and elsewhere.