YouTube Offers Advances for Scheduled Content

Content creators and currators are getting six and seven figure “advances” from Google/YouTube, reports the Wall Street Journal. YouTube allegedly is planning to schedule content starting in 2012, and topics range from fashion to sports (I’m guessing travel, cooking and “how-to” are among them).

Let’s look at how this works, and then what it means to independent creators that are not being bombarded with YouTube/Google checks.

Here’s how it would work: Howcast, a creator of instructional-videos, would collect a series around, say, planning the perfect vacation. The company gets a big ass check (advance), and nothing else until the ad revenue (from ads adjacent to the content) surpasses that big-ass advance. Then, like traditional YouTube Partners, the ad revenue is split almost 50/50 between YouTube/Google and Howcast. Howcast, which traditionally pays creators a “flat” fee (a couple hundred per episode) makes the difference. Not too shabby.

The WSJ reports that dozen “channels” are in the works, and that YouTube has requested some content for the channels within the next 60 days for a 2012 launch.

This marks a significant shift in YouTube’s evolution. YouTube, which has taken great care to call itself a “platform,” is now playing the role of a network by funding content and “slotting” it for scheduled and premium visibility.

What does this mean to independent creators?

  • Mostly it’s a shift away from independent creators, which is consistant with the past year or so.
  • However if it brings more mainstream viewers (and presumably frequent and predictable viewers), it’s another way to get your related videos seen (in “watch” pages).
  • A better approach would be to package your independent creation in the format being popularized. Even if Google/YouTube doesn’t track you down with a few hundred thousand, you’ll be ready to be dropped into this scheduled series when the bar drops.
YouTube Dials Down Spontaneity, Raises Volume of Scheduling

14 Replies to “YouTube Offers Advances for Scheduled Content”

  1. Terrible idea YouTube.. Since YouTube has become more acceptable of a site to watch shows (not just cat videos) and the inception of DVR systems, numbers show that people don’t watch shows on “schedule” anymore. People watch what they want when they want.. this is the “OnDemand” Generation here. Besides, most of us content creators understand that we’re not catering to our own generation.. but the younger ones under us. Not the best move YouTube could make..

  2. Obviously I don’t think this is a super horrible idea, considering that YouTube is giving me (an independent creator) money to make an idea I love real. But I do question their motives and their method.

    I think YouTube is thinking about MySpace. They’re used by all ages, but they’re only used like television by people under 25. There is a huge hunk of the demographic spectrum that still thinks YouTube is basically “CatTube.”

    Under 25s watch YouTube like it’s TV. They watch every episode of the shows they love, and occasionally catch episodes of shows they like. That’s the relationship that YouTube wants to expand to every demographic.

    They can’t do that with content that we would call “authentic.” A lot of people just don’t get why they would watch some guy mouth off in his bedroom. A lot of people don’t want a participatory internet experience. They just want to be entertained. YouTube wants that “leanback” experience to be available.

    In addition, they seem to be convinced that they can’t sell ads for more than they currently are. And since they must be trying quite hard, I take them at their word. Another goal of this program (my guess, again) is to make content that can fetch higher CPMs.

    There’s a battle going on for who will be the big networks in the next generation of television. YouTube is making a play for that. I think they have a chance at succeeding, but I need to see them spending at least as much money (if not much more) on fostering and curating the independent content that has made them so powerful and continues to be the soul of the site.

  3. Also…the “scheduled” thing is not a thing. It will be regular content, but it will not air live or anything. It’ll go up on the site and be available forever just like any other YouTube video.

  4. Basically it’s just a published release schedule.
    “New episode of RocketBoom in 5 minutes!”
    with a countdown timer.
    It build anticipation for the content.
    I like the idea but hate that it drives down
    the smaller youtuber.
    But I’ve been out of the game for a while anyway so
    i’m just opining from the sidelines!

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