The new program is for brands only and it's an
expansion of the company's Brand Labs service, which was designed
to educate advertisers on YouTube content strategies. This new
initiative will focus more on helping those brands actually create
The effort is completely separate from YouTube's
original programming efforts, but advertises will get the same
resources as YouTube "partners," meaning those that allow YouTube
to sell ads on their videos.
The program is structured to arm advertisers with dedicated
YouTube executives and more broad access to existing resources like
Brand Labs and YouTube Space in Los Angeles and the UK --
production studios it recently launched to support creators who
post their video content on YouTube -- according to people familiar
with their plans.
It will also help facilitate partnerships and potential
sponsorship opportunities between the brands and YouTube
The company likely drew inspiration from Next Lab -- the former
Next New Networks -- which was acquired in 2011 to help creators
improve their content and ultimately grow their subscriber bases.
Next Lab will also likely play a role in the new program for
The program is for new and existing customers that are committed
to spending a certain amount with parent Google, industry
executives told Ad Age. It's a recognition that brands want to
create content for YouTube, not just place their ads there.
Robert Kyncl, global head of content at YouTube, discussed the
product for the first time today in a presentation in Cannes,
France. The brands involved in the pilot program include: American Express,
Johnson, PepsiCo and General Electric,
according to a report in the Drum.
The move comes as more brands look to become custom publishers
themselves and create content that consumers care about. As a
result, agencies across disciplines have set up devoted content
groups to advise clients and create, produce and distribute content
featuring their clients' brands.
Although YouTube's new program will focus on content created
specifically for its own platform, the video giant is now yet
another player in the content services space, which also lists
publishing companies and content specialist agencies.
Google did not respond to a request for comment.
UPDATE: In a press release, YouTube says the
program kicks off in September at YouTube Space in Los Angeles.
YouTube sales chief Lucas Watson says: "By inviting advertisers
into our partner program, we hope to give them access to resources
and expertise that will help them develop even more compelling and
authentic content on YouTube."
Contributing: Timothy Peterson