YouTube’s investment in UK-based original content channels is effectively over because the videosharing platform believes it has proved that it can support sustainable content businesses.
YouTube awarded advances of up to £500,000 to multiple UK indies last year as part of its Original Channels strategy, but content partnerships manager Rachel Ball called time on the initiative at Broadcast’s Commissioning & Funding Forum.
Asked if the company was still funding new channels, Ball caveated her answer with a “never say never”, but acknowledged: “We want to be out of the funding business. That’s not a place we want to be.”
She suggested there had been some misunderstanding of YouTube’s strategy, and that it had always been planning its investment in terms of proof of concept.
“It used to be that if I told producers they could create a business on our platform, they would be just polite enough not to laugh in my face. The original-programming push has allowed people to look at YouTube as a real business.”
Ball said YouTube provided channel operators with “so muchdata, you need a PhD from MIT to sift through it”, but that the company does not offer specific IP information.
“You won’t know people’s names and birthplaces, but you will know how many people are watching in California, or in Oregon, or on the east coast.”
She also urged producers to make use of YouTube’s Content ID tool, which allows it to identify illegally uploaded content and offer the IP owner the option of taking it down or monetising it through ad sales around the content.
Finally, Ball described YouTube users as “Generation C”, saying they were defined by their desire for curation, creation, community and connection.