I recently spoke with YouTube's Head of Product Marketing Jaime Byrne about the recent expansion of YouTube's revenue-sharing partner program to include select users from the YouTube community.
Formerly reserved for YouTube's professional content partners, the pilot partner program will allow for YouTube to evaluate if their revenue-sharing program with Google AdSense (originally reserved for their high-end professional partners) should be considered for expansion to more non-professional content partners.
Grant: What is the criteria you used for considering certain video accounts as "most popular"? Is it views, subscribers, comments, or a combination?
Colvin: Members were invited to participate based on their past performance on the platform. The user partners announced are all popular content creators known by the YouTube community and we believe they will be attractive for advertisers. The new user partners are creating series that attract a persistent audience and have a large numbers of subscribers. We feel it's important to reward those who are creating more than just viral one-off hits. User partners' videos remind us of the other larger partners on our site, and the content they create is often in the same vein.
Grant: What are the revenue-sharing and promotional opportunities available to these new content partners, and how to they compare with YouTube's professional partners?
Colvin: YouTube will monetize the partner videos in a manner consistent with the monetization of professional content posted on YouTube by partners. YouTube is exploring a variety of options and will deploy advertising models that work for the YouTube community, advertisers and professional content partners.
Grant: Do you have an example of how the advertising would appear adjacent to the video?
Colvin: You can click on any of lonelygirl15's videos to see the banner running against her content. Participating user partners will receive revenue from advertising that runs directly against their content. (Grant's comment: Some irony that YouTube rewards the example of a counterfeit person.)
Grant: How many partners do you currently have in the program, both professional and those that are part of the general community?
Colvin: YouTube currently has more than 1,000 partners with whom we share revenue, including major media companies like the BBC and CBS. The user partner program is simply an extension of the way we share revenue with any of our partners who provide content that we sell ads against. Other partners include the NBA, the Sundance Channel and Sony BMG.
Grant: If someone were to fill out YouTube's partnership lead form to be considered as a content partner, how long would it take to receive a decision?
Colvin: We will continue to evaluate the success of this program and add new partners if and when appropriate.
Grant: Are there certain categories of content that might be given special consideration? Such as education or government services?
Colvin: We will consider all types of content for this program, although no category will be given preferential consideration over another.