YouTube funding of UK original content channels in doubt

YouTube’s funding of its original content channels in the UK is in doubt following its spend of £500,000 on its original content strategy last year.

Speaking at Broadcast’s Commissioning & Funding Forum earlier this week, Rachel Ball, content partnerships manager for YouTube said that the Google owned video distribution platform wanted to “be out of the funding business.”

She added that the funding last year was to boost the content and concept of the platforms, but indicated, as with funding for original content in the States when funding was cut by 60 per cent for the second round of spend, this was not a long-term funding plan.

“The original-programming push has allowed people to look at YouTube as a real business,” she added.

Following her comments a spokesperson for YouTube explained that it wasn’t as simple as YouTube simply stopping the funding of the content providers for its channels in the UK, while Ball added: "While we have already re-funded a number of channels in the US, our goal with the original channels initiative has always been for all of our partners to succeed and to bring in more investment and new advertisers to YouTube over time. We’ve seen that in the last year and this activity is the sign of a healthy ecosystem. It's still too early to discuss the specifics of the UK channels, but as always we'll continue to work closely with all partners."

Earlier this year, YouTube ran a Comedy Week, featuring well known comedians from the UK and US providing original content for its site.

Stephen Lepitak

Stephen Lepitak is editor of The Drum, with responsibility for overseeing the day-to-day running of the content produced for the various platforms run by the publication. Over the years he has interviewed agency network bosses such as Sir Martin Sorrell, Maurice Lévy and Arthur Sadoun, as well as Cindy Gallop, Kim Kardashian, film directors James Cameron, Spike Jonze, Richard Curtis and Lord David Puttnam. With a keen interest in media and breaking news, Lepitak has been with The Drum since 2005 and is based across its UK, US and Asia operations.

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