The YouTube platform is building the foundation for a strong future, according to some industry leaders who took to the stage Thursday at Vidcon, a conference for online video programming held at the Anaheim Convention Center.
Fresh off the acquisition of his company by Walt Disney Co., Maker Studios CEO Ynon Kreiz spoke of his company’s strategic focus in a Q&A with Andrew Wallenstein, editor-in-chief, digital, at Variety. The company announced Maker Gen, an upgrade of the technology platform that can be utilized by a stable of creators that now exceeds 55,000.
Maker Gen splits its ranks among beginnners, up-and-comers and full-fledged stars who can take advantage of a variety of resources ranging from brand partnerships, technical support, talent collaboration and creator forums.
Instead of just targeting Maker’s millennial-heavy audience with promotions for Disney content, the company’s creators will be able to utilize the availability of classic characters hailing from Marvel to Lucasfilm.
“There’s a whole universe of very valuable intellectual property, a huge variety of content,” said Kreiz, ticking off a list of everything from “Star Wars” to ESPN.
Kreiz revealed that when his company first started to talking to Disney, an acquisition wasn’t first and foremost on either of their minds. “The conversation started at a partnership, and as the conversation evolved it became very clear that it was a strong fit for both companies,” he said.
Another exec with Disney heritage, DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, took to the Vidcon stage touting an acquisition of his own: YouTube multichannel network AwesomenessTV, which has 50 million subscribers and 1 billion views per month. He also touted another venture, YouTube channel YouTube Nation, a daily guide to the hottest programming on YouTube, which has racked up 1.6 million subs and 25 million views in four months.
Katzenberg explained that he is bullish on YouTube because of he wants a head-start on the future of media.
“I am 100% convinced that those who are in it today are those who are going to understand it the best tomorrow,” he said. “It’s not going to be the people who come late to the game.”
Another MCN, Fullscreen, announced a commitment of $10 million in investment toward original programming. CEO George Strompoulos also called on more creative promotion and support for YouTube content from the media business.
The speeches were part of an industry track at an event otherwise focused on the fans, who arrived in Anaheim 20,000 strong to interact with a wide variety of YouTube stars. Vidcon is a three-day event that ends Saturday.