Banking on the success of the 100 Original Channels it launched last year, YouTube announced on Sunday that the company has funded 60 more channels, this time with an international twist. But where's Korea? Japan? China?
“Given the success of these and the tens of millions of other amazing channels already out there... we’re excited to launch a new generation of original channels coming from France, Germany, the UK and the U.S.,” wrote Global Head of Content Robert Kyncl in an official blog post yesterday.
Google's Global Domination?
Google’s $100 million investment into YouTube’s Original Channels last October turned some heads by drawing big name talent like Madonna, Amy Poehler and Kevin Smith, and this latest round of investment is equally dramatic. The move also reeks of global domination.
The newest round of Original Channels, particularly the international channels, are the result of partnerships with major international media companies. (15 American, 18 British, 11 French, and 9 German.) The biggest British name YouTube has partnered with is of course, the BBC, which will produce three different shows for the video-sharing site, one of which is a science channel with Top Gear's James May.
The initiative tapped FreemantleMedia (which gave the world American Idol) and ITN Productions, along with the Netherlands' Endemol (Big Brother) and All3Media, a media conglomerate airing Gordan Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares in Germany and New Zealand.
Asia Gone Missing?
Missing from the impressive roster is any company from Asia - ironic given the popularity of Asian stars on YouTube.
David Dowd, the VP of Brands at FanBridge, noted the “huge market opportunities” in the UK and Europe, “but also Asia - while they may be a year or so behind the United States in terms of production we see that gap as one to keep a close eye on as it has the potential to close very quickly.” (FanBridge is a marketing platform and fan management tool that has a 20% international client base and profited greatly from YouTube’s first investment into premium content.)
Dowd took this latest round of investment as “a great sign that what was launched as an experiment last year is fast proving to be a profit center for YouTube and it’s creative partners” and added he hoped to see this sort of initiative expand into Asia “in the coming months and years.”
Expanding into Asia might be tricky for YouTube given various countries like China, Pakistan, and the region of Kashmir have at one point banned or are currently banning the video-sharing site, and Japan recently began enforcing a law that could send some YouTube watchers to prison.