Google‘s investment in original programming, carried out through the NextUp Contests and the YouTube Original Channels Initiative, has caused a dramatic increase in the number of content creators who are able to fully dedicate themselves to their online video networks. There are thousands of YouTube partners who gain substantial income from their videos, but they’re not the only ones who have discovered a business opportunity in the recent surge of original programming. Third party startups, such as FanBridge, have been able to find a niche for themselves as flexible tools for up-and-coming creators.
FanBridge, launched in 2006, helps aspiring channels best reach their fans. ” We help content channels own their audiences and connect with them directly,” said David Dowd, FanBridge’s VP, “giving them tools that are very effective for content discovery, audience development and retention.” While some of the more popular channels receive big views every time they post up a video, most channels need to give users reasons to keep returning to their channel. “Once a viewer leaves YouTube, there challenges and barriers to get that person to come back and see new videos,” noted Dowd, ”We are helping fill that gap.”
YouTube helps its Partners create professional-looking content and even gives them some tools to help target their work, but Dowd, a former Google employee, believes additional tools are a necessity in order to fully realize a channel’s market potential.” With the funding of hundreds of new channels, YouTube increased the supply of premium content on its platform,” he explained, ”The problem that we are helping to solve is how to make this content discoverable to a scaleable audience, and how to retain these audiences over the long-term.”
FanBridge is one of many startups finding a home within YouTube and its Partner program. Every step of the content creation process can be improved or tinkered in some way. “There are a number of areas that third-party companies can make inroads,” said Dowd, “whether its streamlining the production process, aggregating content around key audience buckets, or ad technology that improves the ad experience or better aligns with the content experience.” Certainly, as the number of high-quality channels increases, there is room for even more symbiosis between startups and content creators. “It’s a very exciting time,” Dowd admitted, “and we are thrilled to be part of it.”