Attempting to convince YouTube Talent not to jump to Facebook or other competing Web sites, Google said it has furthered its investments to help talent shine. The site expanded support to full-scale marketing and advertising campaigns, helping turn successful creators with large fan bases like Bethany Mota and Epic Rap Battles of History into household names.
"We feel the time is right to make another important investment in our creators," per Alex Carloss, head of YouTube Originals. "That's why we’ve decided to fund new content from some of our top creators, helping them not only fulfill their creative ambitions, but also deliver new material to their millions of fans on YouTube."
YouTube will generate an estimated $1.13 billion in revenue from video advertising this year -- up 39% from last year, excluding revenue from videos produced by video stars, per eMarketer.
Rapid growth of mobile devices is creating demand for short-form digital video content, according to Needham & Co. Analyst Laura Martin. She points to a Nielsen study that suggests 38% of U.S. viewers between the ages of 35 and 54 watch at least some video content on their smartphones, followed by 25% of 25-34s, and 19% of 18-24s. This is up from virtually nothing five years ago.
Google's investment comes during a time when Facebook has been looking to poach YouTube talent in an effort for them to distribute videos on its site instead of YouTube. Earlier this month, Microsoft said it would ramp up its own content production and pull back or end online content partnerships, opting for premium content and better photography. The news came with the preview of the new MSN.
"With premium content and productivity tools delivered across screens, we're excited about the opportunities the new MSN provides for brands to meaningfully connect with audiences," Frank Holland, vice president of advertising and online business at Microsoft wrote in a blog post.
Yahoo and Amazon also have increased their efforts to produce original Web content through streaming live events or producing original pilots. In the past, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer laid out plans to bring high-end television-quality content to the site, hiring commentators like Katie Couric.