Exploring the YouTube Ecosystem at YT Access 2012

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Entrepreneurs / Video Content / YouTube

John Greathouse of Rincon Ventures told me the YouTube ecosystem was “the Wild West.”  That was the understatement of the week, as I learned by attending YouTube’s Premium Partner conference, YouTube Access 2012.  The event was last week in New York.

It’s a huge ecosystem–YouTube has 800 million users, and 72 hours of content is uploaded every MINUTE.  What I hadn’t realized is how many of YT’s content partners are entrepreneurs who are there to launch new businesses.  It’s not about cats dancing on keyboards, but serious professionals making comedy, drama, sports, cooking, and every other type of video content you can imagine. 

And YouTube is doing everything it can to expand professional content.  Rapidly.

YouTube has seeded its’ Premium Partners with a reported $300 million in support, largely in the form of prepaid ad revenue sharing and marketing support. Two hundred people attended YouTube’s Access 2012 Premium Partner meeting last week in New York.  They covered a spectrum from small startups to the ESPN network

Every big company talks about an ecosystem developing around its’ technology, but YouTube is actively building one with its’ Premium Partners.  Speakers at the conference drove home one point over and over again: we are here to help you.  Use us

YouTube was offering specific advice and active assistance on everything from program development to search visibility and social media.  Their team will not only get on the phone (or a Google Hangout) with their partners, but also have several “YouTube Next” Labs scattered about the country, where partners can get hands on training.  They also released the second edition of the YouTube Creator Playbook, their partner manual.

Not everyone loves their approach.  Forbes contributor Paul Tassi hammered their shift to Premium Partners: YouTube Abandons the Little Guy.  By contrast, the Premium Partners at the event seemed happy with YT’s efforts.  We were all struggling with information overload, but the mood was upbeat (apart from a few hangovers caused by the YT party at the Standard).

YouTube’s effort to develop their Premium Partners is having a direct impact here in Southern California.  SocalTech recently highlighted eight partners in our area: Socal YouTube Content Partners.  YouTube Next Labs has also leased 41,000 square feet of office space for a Playa Vista branch.

The takeaways from the meeting?  YouTube is going to be even more of a force to be reckoned with, both in Video and in SoCal more broadly.  Stay tuned. Ok, so it’s a bad pun, but I had the distinct sense that this is just the beginning of YT’s impact on the industry, and on our local tech community.

I also discovered that Googlers (as they call themselves) are truly different from the rest of us, as the picture below demonstrates.  This Digital Native was present in his colorful Google tribal dress.

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