YouTube Launches 'Marketplace' to Connect YouTube Stars and Brands

Pairing YouTube Partners With Advertisers and Agencies That Want to Create Viral Buzz

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Agencies and marketers looking for the perfect YouTube star to appear in a viral video, your job just got easier.

At a keynote presentation at VidCon today, YouTube vice president of product management, Shishir Mehrotra announced Video Creation Marketplace, a platform that will connect content creators on YouTube with marketers or agencies looking for viral buzz.

Since 2007, YouTube has partnered with producers on the video site to share ad revenue, allowing people to create YouTube content for a living. "We pay out millions of dollars to partners each year," said Baljeet Singh, group product manager at YouTube. "Thousands of channels are generating six figures a year."

The 'Dirty Dash'
The 'Dirty Dash'

The idea is to create a more formal revenue stream for the long tail of YouTube creators. YouTube has been very focused on launching and promoting its first 100 "Original Channels," but its message to VidCon is to the YouTube stalwarts: We're here for you, too.

While advertising is a nice source of revenue for some, even the most successful YouTube "stars" do brand work, but to date, this has been happening on an ad hoc basis. Channels that have worked with advertisers in the past include Howcast, which leveraged its channel with a three-month General Electric takeover to kick off the brand's "Healthymagination" campaign, and beauty vlogger Juicy Star 07, who collaborated with L'Oreal for a campaign that asked viewers to share their Voluminous mascara moments.

Today, YouTube's partner program has more than a million content creators globally.

The marketplace platform will allow partners to set up profiles indicating what they do, their past successes and the demographics or types of brands they are best suited for. Advertisers or agencies will be able to search by parameters, such as content type, target demo and keywords, to find the right YouTube star for their campaign. Then, they can negotiate separately. YouTube will play no part in the negotiation stage.

YouTube will begin talking to partners about it today at VidCon, and will launch the site and talk to marketers later this summer.

The program will be particularly useful for small businesses that don't always have the resources to create video ads, said Mr. Singh. "The creativity coming out of YouTube rivals that coming out of creative agencies any day of the week," he added. "And we already know that their content performs really well on YouTube."

For someone like Devin Graham, who has already been partnering with small brands such as Dirty Dash, a 5K race, and Jet Lev, a water jet-pack company, and makes a "healthy living" from those partnerships, marketplace is a great idea. "It would make finding the right brand a lot easier," said the video maker, who produces under his Supertramp channel.

Although Mr. Graham began making the videos for brands for free with his paycheck stemming from YouTube's ad revenue split, his growing popularity allows him to charge brands who want him to make videos. Among his upcoming paid projects is a web film for Intel, set to release in the next couple of weeks. Mr. Graham is also in talks with Red Bull, which he says is exactly the kind of brand whose values align with the type of content he produces: slick, high-energy, action and lifestyle work.

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