A year into its initiative to financially support original content channels, YouTube is deciding which ones will get additional investment and which ones will be left to their own devices.
Google’s YouTube invested $100 million in about 160 channels of original content in October 2011. It is now starting to offer new contracts to the 30 to 40 percent of those that are performing well enough to garner additional funding, a ratio that compares favorably to traditional broadcast programs.
The remaining creators are welcome to continue producing content for YouTube, but they won’t get their share of any advertising revenue until the video platform recoups its investment.
YouTube has not disclosed which channels will receive renewed support, but informed guesses can be made by looking through the YouTube viewing charts published by AdAge. The top 30 channels now have more than 100,000 subscribers each, with perpetual leaders like SourceFed (pictured) and Machinima Prime attracting over half a million.
In addition to subscriber and viewer numbers, patterns for YouTube channel success are beginning to emerge. The most important factor turns out to be the channel’s efforts to build an audience using social media, fan engagement and all of the other available tools.