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.