YouTube has 200,000 advertisers per quarter, but with the new original channels beginning in January of next year, they're looking to attract 6 or 7 million YouTube advertisers as they launch around 100 total in 2012. According to this Beet.TV interview with Lucas Watson, YouTube's VP for Global Sales, the ability to advertise around premium brands will be attractive to new advertisers. YouTube, which reaches 800 million people around the world per month, is preparing for a ubiquitous presence on all devices that are capable of running online video.
YouTube Aiming High to Get the Most Out of Their Global Reach
What isn't being said here is that a lot of these advertisers have been skittish about having their brands associated with some of the content on YouTube. Businesses looking to keep an eye out on their image don't want to be associated with content that is controversial, and I'm pretty sure this is one of the reasons why YouTube decided to pay a bunch of Hollywood producers to create content for them. They were probably getting frustrated with so much potential advertising dollars escaping their grasp. When the original channels arrive, it will generally be populated with trusted entities, something the major networks have with their programs.
Watson also mentions that YouTube will be built-in to more new televisions than ever this Christmas, meaning YouTube is not content with just being a part of some special console that you might own to watch online video on a big screen (although they want to be on all of those, too). They want to already be there, no assembly required, to further extend their reach like never before. No doubt, this kind of easy accessibility will attract potential advertisers because the reach and audience is staggering on YouTube.
Watson says they want to have 100 channels next year, but hope to get into the thousands at some point. With that much content, YouTube realizes that it will be impossible to watch it all, which is why he believes that people will be watching a handful of favorite channels on YouTube in the future, because we like to customize everything. It's the a la carte mentality that cable will probably never implement. If YouTube's content creators can provide "water cooler" shows that eat into television audiences, this will be major trouble for cable providers, already feeling the sting of dwindling subscribers.