Back in July, YouTube poured $5 Million back into the source of their success: the users. Specifically, the video giant created YouTube Partner Grants, a grand fund intended to help independent YouTube Partners level the playing field with the deep-pocketed major brands. At the time, I praised the company for investing in its users.
YouTube has announced a similar new venture that will bring a Merry Christmas to many Partners indeed--$1,000 for new camera equipment. Sweet!
The good news is that some Partners will be getting $1,000 credit vouchers for B&H Photo, which they can use to purchase any sort of gear they may need. It might be a camera, audio equipment, or lights. Whatever they want. Now that's a pretty good Christmas present.
The bad news, sadly, is that this is again a limited deal (like those that got a new Sony TV with GoogleTV this past month), completely at the discretion of YouTube. Partners can't sign up for this or do anything to help ensure they're one of the lucky few to receive the credits. And it will only be a few—500, to be exact. And while 500 is more than a few ($500K in total), it's only 3% of the 15,000 worldwide who are part of the Partner program.
So why is YouTube investing in their users yet again? I'll let them tell you:
"We hope this will provide our most popular partners with the tools they need -- whether it be a new camera, sound & lighting equipment or editing software -- to produce even higher quality videos and ultimately drive bigger audiences to their work. Hundreds of creative people all around the world have launched professional careers after using YouTube as a global platform to demonstrate their talent - we want to see this number continue to grow.”
So it's part Christmas present, part investment. Part "thank you," and part "keep up the good work.” I've said it before, but YouTube is always thinking several moves ahead. It's clear they know that the success or failure of YouTube down the road depends entirely on the users—specifically, on the ability of the users to grow, expand, and improve the video content uploaded to the site. If the best users abandon YouTube for other platforms, eventually the content pool will be diluted. If YouTube can keep their most promising users around, and keep them creating extraordinary video, the future is very bright indeed.
If you were to be chosen as one of the few lucky Partners… what would you spend the $1,000 on?