Those first 100 YouTube Originals? Those were just a start.
In March, YouTube global head of content Robert Kyncl told us to expect more investment; today, Google has announced that 60 more original channels are coming, backed by a fresh $200 million investment by YouTube. Unlike the first 100, the new round is focused more on foreign TV formats and properties, but it also includes some additional channels from current partners such as Vice and Everyday Health.
The new round of investment is another vote of confidence in the strategy led by Mr. Kyncl, who said 25 of the first 100 originals now average 1 million views a week. That's small by YouTube and certainly by TV standards, but a decent start for brand-new properties on a dial as crowded as YouTube, where thousands of "channels" and series compete for attention.
More importantly, YouTube head of content strategy Jamie Byrne said 25 of the first 100 originals have more than 100,000 subscribers. A channel subscriber is much more likely to be a repeat viewer, which is what YouTube is trying to achieve through its "channel" experiment.
The real test is whether the channels are leading to any incremental new advertising coming into YouTube, and there the jury is out. Dance On, one of the early channels backed by Madonna and manager Guy Oseary, just signed its first major sponsor, Ubisoft, after launching last spring. But YouTube's originals still include a lot of house ads for YouTube; it's less common to see the kind of brand spots that the effort was supposed to attract.
We've been watching and ranking all the new channels on our YouTube Original Channel Tracker at AdAge.com/youtube and will add the next 60 to watch how they do. In the meantime, here's an example of what's coming from Discovery Network's Revision3, a company that has long distributed shows through YouTube and has now created an exclusive channel called Tech Feed.