Charts, graphs and pithy mantras on display at Web giant's workshops
MIAMI — YouTube opened its doors to the teeming masses at NATPE this week with a series of workshops designed to offer a primer on how to manage and launch a YouTube channel.The YouTube 101 sessions underscored the differences between programming for the Web, with its infinite shelf space, and for linear TV channels, with their barriers to entry for programs. At times the meetings in a small conference room at the Fontainebleau hotel had the feel of a real estate seminar, complete with free popcorn and lemonade offered in reusable, YouTube-emblazoned plastic cups. The workshop leaders started by walking participants through the process of applying for YouTube’s partner program, and later seshes went through the principles of scheduling, marketing, promotion and branding. The Power Point presentation was full of charts and graphs, bullet points and pithy mantras (“curation, connection, creation, community”). In between the morning and afternoon meetings, the YouTubers had “office hours” for walk-ins from noon-1:30 p.m. Most major distribs try to avoid the people roaming the convention floor with unsolicited spec scripts in their hands. But YouTube is in its second year of mounting an outreach programming during the NATPE confab. So what’s in it for YouTube? The Google-owned Internet giant already has plenty of channels. Its biggest problem is having too much content for viewers to wade through. Alex Carloss, YouTube’s global head of entertainment partnerships, said the service is inundated with an estimated 72 hours of video uploaded by users every 60 seconds. Indeed, the chairs in the conference room a floor above were filled with people taking notes and asking questions of the earnest YouTube 101 workshop leaders. “Launch and iterate” was the battle cry of the sesh. “We at YouTube want to help you as partners make the most of your channel,” said Marina Abayev, who presided over one of Monday’s sessions. The presentations even featured testimonials from recent YouTube success stories, such as Sonia Gil, who cheerily told the crowd that her Sonia’s Travels channel had earned her a call from the “Today” show. When asked about long-term strategic considerations for dealing with YouTube’s content deluge, another company rep, Alton Lee, emphasized that YouTube wants to be ahead of the curve as viewing patterns change. In essence, the open house staged over three days at the NATPE confab was a gift from Google to help an important niche content supplier: more than amateur but less than high-end. Participants in the NATPE seshes were invited to sign up for further mentoring and informational sessions to be done virtually, all free of charge thanks to the beneficence of Google. “More and more, traditional content creators are shifting toward online,” Lee said. “YouTube sits in a place where we can offer content creators a showcase on our global platform.