There are currently over 20,000 YouTube Partners (aka the channels whose content YouTube has deemed appropriate for advertisers and with which the company splits advertising revenue earned against the channels’ videos). That number has doubled in the last year. The revenue on partner pages has tripled in the last year, too. The number of YouTube Partners making over $1,000 per month up 300% since the beginning of 2010.
That’s a lot of new media and homegrown internet talent making at least some extra cash and at most a very comfortable living thanks to the world’s largest video sharing site. But while Youtube has created and fostered a new breed of entertainment professionals, the company can’t help but court established Hollywood and pop culture personalities with multi-million dollar productions.
Michael Learmonth at Advertising Age leaked details of a few of the types of big name, big budget original web series YouTube is currently pitching to brand name advertisers. They are:
- Dream Makers – A series produced by Endemol, starring Kobe Bryant that’s been in the works at least since August of 2010. The program features the Los Angeles Lakers star “rewarding ‘outstanding young people’ with the ‘dream of a lifetime.’” The reported asking price for an exclusive run of six to eight episodes will cost an advertiser $1.7 million.
- The Incubator – A 36-episode reality series featuring 10 entrepreneurs as they take a business idea from conception to fruition. Ben Silverman’s new media studio Electus is on board to produce and looking for an exclusive six-month sponsor to the tune of $3.5 million.
- Lady Gaga concert – A live New York City show with the reigning Queen of Pop streamed to the online masses via YouTube and Vevo. Real estate on Lady Gaga’s YouTub channel and Facebook page along with a sponsorship for the concert alongside Samsung will cost a brand $9 million.
These pitches, Learmonth notes, are a completely separate initiative from the $100 million YouTube supposedly has earmarked for enticing recognizable celebrities to take their talents online. The two programs, however, along with a planned January redesign to YouTube’s layout could literally change the face of online video.
Come 2012, we could be looking at and watching a very different YouTube. One that’s way more conducive to seeing long-form and episodic programming than viral videos and one where the credits of that long-form and episodic programming are filled with even more brands and names the staunchest cord-keepers will recognize.