Behind the Scenes: the YouTube Partner Program

Me and my new BFF

Me and my new BFF

For four days last week I was hunkered down at the fabulous YouTube Space L.A. for the YouTube Partner Program. This was a workshop where I got up-to-speed on all things YouTube and learned how Best Buy could take our activities on the platform up a few notches. The production studio, which is located near Marina Del Rey, also doubles as a collaborative workspace for writers, editors, directors and producers. (Fun fact: YouTube Space L.A. is located on grounds that formerly housed one of Howard Hughes’ airports.)

There was definitely a hectic and creative vibe to the place. During the course of the week there was a music video being produced for the band Dr. Dog, there was a horror make-up and costume workshop going on – hence the picture above with my new pal the Predator – and a zombie video was being filmed. It was a lively and fun environment.

Howard Hughes’ helicopter at YouTube Space L.A.

Our agenda for the week was packed. Each day consisted of a keynote presentation from the likes of BuzzFeed or Chris Hardwick. We also got to sit in on panel discussions with YouTube content creators like Grace Helbig (aka DailyGrace) and Justine Ezarik (aka iJustine). Rounding out the days were work sessions with the YouTube strategy teams.

I can’t get into too much of the content from the strategy workshops due to some follow-up work that will be taking place, but what I can do is share a few notes from the keynotes and panel discussions. (I don’t think that Hardwick or BuzzFeed are going to get mad at me for sharing this – it’s not like it’s intellectual property or anything.)

  • “Animals, cats and memes online are the new online version of the newspapers’ variety/arts sections that were unveiled over 40 years ago.” – This came from the guys at BuzzFeed when talking about the entertainment factor that news and information sites have to keep in mind when operating digitally.
  • “TV content has to be watchable. YouTube content has to be shareable.” – Chris Hardwick said this was a core philosophy that guided the work of Nerdist.com.
  • YouTube is huge. How big? Here goes. There are more than one billion YouTube users spread across 56 countries. Six billion hours of videos are viewed on YouTube every month. 100 hours of content are uploaded to YouTube every minute.
  • Yet not every video on YouTube makes it “viral.” Only 0.6% of all YouTube videos have more than one million views.

I think some of these observations give a nod to the scale of YouTube and why people are thinking about it as an entertainment and marketing platform. Personally I know that I haven’t been an active user on YouTube up to this point, but that is definitely going to change. As a consumer and as a marketer I’m already thinking about YouTube differently. Heck, I’m even thinking about upgrading to a new smart TV so I can watch YouTube on a bigger screen at home! But I could use your help. I’m still trying to figure out what personalities to follow and what channels to add to my subscription list. So if you have any brands that you are think are killing it on YouTube or if you can suggest some must-see channels, then chime in with a comment and let me know.

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