YouTube has been tremendously successful as an incubator of new talent. Since the site first launched, it has minted countless new stars, programs and brands with its uniquely supportive, but hands-off, approach. An entire industry has grown up under YouTube: creators, multi-channel networks, and most recently, the media conglomerates that buy multi-channel networks. The space is evolving rapidly, and creators, who once felt undervalued, are now being pulled in multiple directions as traditional media begins to recognize their value.
A report in the Wall Street Journal’s tech blog suggests that YouTube has its eye on some of its grown up children who are ready to leave the nest. YouTube’s top stars are increasingly being offered opportunities to produce and distribute content off the site. According to the Journal, YouTube has been reaching out to some of the site’s top creators to discuss the possibility of funding new content in exchange for a cut of the revenue that that content earns elsewhere. The rumors are unconfirmed, but they come on the heels of similar rumors reported by Reuters suggesting that YouTube may be exploring new Hollywood partnerships.
When reached for comment, a YouTube spokesman referred us back to the company’s previous comments about possible meetings with Hollywood studios saying. “We are always exploring various content and marketing ideas to support and accelerate our creators.” Sources tell us that at this time any discussions taking place between YouTube and its creators about investment in off-YouTube projects would be purely exploratory.
Since the advent of their partner program, YouTube has worked to nurture talent and encourage the creation of better original content, first sharing the ad revenue with partners, then later with its well-stocked creator spaces and special promotional events, and most recently, an aggressive outdoor and television ad campaign aimed at raising awareness of YouTube’s top brands. Given the resources that YouTube and Google have brought in to develop and promote its native talent, it would only be natural for the company to be chagrined when that talent graduates to other mediums.