YouTube’s initiative of funding original ad-supported content as a means of competing with ‘traditional’ TV methods is set to go downhill a little, as they revealed that a year on from the feature’s initial launch date, the level of content will be cut by 60%.
A report from Ad Age now suggests that just ’30-40%’ of the entries on the ‘professional channels initiative’, which has so far created over 160 channels across North America and Europe in a number of languages, will remain funded by YouTube, so while the dropped networks could still continue their work independently (especially those associated with large organisations such as Red Bull and the BBC), they will no longer be on YouTube’s reorganised channel roster.
That ‘roster’ from the Google-owned service is likely to include more ‘European programming’ alongside content from the USA, with more producers from France, Germany, and the UK signed up to create content.
Looking to compete mainly against the likes of Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon/LoveFilm, YouTube now seem to be favouring quality over quantity in their professional works after a $100m first-year investment, as the video site’s ‘global head of content’ Jamie Byrne noted: “Our biggest objective was to kick-start the ecosystem, to bring in great creators, to deepen our relationships with advertisers and to grow viewership.”
However, the payments did only come as an advance on a year’s worth of estimated advertising revenue, and it appears as though past and future profitability is at the forefront of YouTube’s current shortlisting process for the lucky 40%, as Byrne added: “We looked at viewership they’ve been able to achieve, the cost of the content, and from that we are able to determine the channels that are delivering the best return on our investment.”
With under 50 channels set to make the cut, it appears likely that it will be filled with the hubs that top the rankings, with the current ‘top 25′ channels averaging 1 million views per week, while in terms of subscriber numbers, the top 33 have over 100,000 each getting the first word on new content.
As YouTube reportedly prepare an investment of $1m – $5m for each channel, which entries will soon discover that they have earned ‘VIP’ status on the video sharing site?