Jamie Oliver - ‘I’m burning £4m a year on YouTube’

Jamie Oliver has burned more money than he’s earned on his YouTube venture – FoodTube and DrinksTube - revealing that up to £1m has been spent "every three or four months" as he experiments with the channel and collaborates with brands.

Speaking to The Drum at Advertising Week New York, the celebrity chef said that at the moment the majority of his work with brands on YouTube is on projects with a quick turnaround, but he is hoping to develop more longer-term partnerships to make the channel commercially viable.

“What we’re trying to focus on is trying to increase our percentage of three-year deals because, regardless of how wonderful all this [YouTube] sounds, I’m still in deficit. I’m burning more than I’m earning,” he said.

Oliver launched FoodTube in January 2013 and DrinksTube a year later in March 2014; the former has pulled in just over one million subscribers while the latter has around 64,000.

Oliver explained that its rapid growth and high-production values overseen by a team of 45 means that long-term brand collaborations are the most effective way to try and make the books balance, although he will look at other commercial opportunities as he leanrs more about what works on the channels.

Discussing the three-year deal between DrinksTube and Bacardi – which was inked a month after its launch – Oliver said that it is a partnership which is authentic but is one which has also allowed the spirits brand to be more creative and experiment alongside Oliver with content creation.

“With a three year plan and the right brand you can tap into all the historical parts of their businesses. It means you can build a proper structure and evolve it because you don’t get it all right straight away,” he said.

Oliver revealed that at the moment he is being approached regularly by global brands in and outside of the food industry although declined to go into specific detail.

Despite “rattling" through the budget, YouTube is a platform on which Oliver will continue to bet heavily, and he revealed that in the near future he will launch a new channel – ‘BoobTube’ – which will offer advice on feeding babies and very young children to new parents.

Jennifer Faull

The Drum senior reporter Jen Faull provides news and insight on the latest developments in retail and FMCG.

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