* By: Heather Gordon
Since 2005, YouTube has been all about user-generated content.
But competing in a Web environment where premium video sites like Hulu attract valuable hits has made YouTube’s owner, Google, think more about how to up the ante on content creation.
Their newest idea? Reward talented YouTube partners with cold, hard cash.
An announcement by Google shared the plan: Users who are part of the now three-year-old partner program are eligible for part of the $5 million in grant money that YouTube has set aside to encourage creative development.
“Our goal is to catalyze the creation of original content and new programming ideas,” said George Strompolos, YouTube’s manager of partner development.
Until now, the only source of money available to YouTube partners came from portions of advertising revenue. AdWeek says that the new grants come with few strings attached — all YouTube requires is that partners produce their content and distribute it on YouTube.
The creators retain ownership of their videos, so they will not be restricted from distributing them elsewhere as well.
“It’s a very open partnership,” Strompolos said. “We don’t take ownership of the content and we’re working non-exclusively.”
According to the San Francisco Chronicle , Google has long insisted that it doesn’t do content creation for YouTube — but the new incentives for partners may change the landscape a bit.
In a statement released by Google, a company official said that YouTube’s goal with Partner Grants is “to give these folks who are often doing 360 degrees of the content creation, production and marketing business, additional funds that they can use to buy better cameras, invest in more talent, or beef up their marketing.”
YouTube claims their the objective is to bring in more great videos for all of us to enjoy, but partner grants will also help the site build a stronger global network and compete in the online video marketplace.