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YouTube Reopens Checkbook for Original Content

YouTube wants to invest more into the content creators producing original programming on its site, the company announced Thursday.

In a post published on its corporate blog, the video site signaled–albeit vaguely–what had been anticipated for months: The Google-owned property is going to have put more money into its native stars to keep them happy as other digital powerhouses including Facebook make noises about luring away top-shelf talent.

“Now, we feel the time is right to make another important investment in our creators,” said Alex Carloss, head of originals at YouTube. “That’s why we’ve decided to fund new content from some of our top creators, helping them not only fulfill their creative ambitions but also deliver new material to their millions of fans on YouTube.”

Carloss stopped short of specifying how much will be spent–or on who–but the very fact that YouTube was even signaling its checkbook was open again is the most significant signal of an intent to invest since a 2012 experiment that plowed $200 million into funding and marketing channels that met with mixed results.

This time around, the focus is likelier to be on homegrown talent already amassing huge audiences on YouTube than the previous emphasis on luring pro content creators from in and around Hollywood to explore new territory. However, Carloss indicates in the post that the Hollywood outreach had its merits.

“We first made a series of investments in channels to jumpstart our creator ecosystem. Eighty-six of those channels are now among the top 1 percent of YouTube’s most popular, but the real sign of success was the massive global fan base our creators built.”

This new initiative is likelier to fund projects in the mold of “Camp Takota,” the full-length comedy film starring digital personalities Grace Helbig, Hannah Hart and Mamrie Hart that was released earlier this year outside YouTube, available for purchase through VHX and iTunes.


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