MIPBlog: What is your role, precisely?
Joe McDermottroe: I work with partners of all kinds, from those with 10,000 views per month to those, like Charlieissocoollike (photo), who have over a million subscribers. We come up with initiatives to make them more productive, such as workshops, mentoring or collaborations between our top stars. I work alongside (MIP regular) Patrick Walker, but whereas he handles companies like broadcasters or record labels, I work with producers of all kinds. But there is crossover: I work with producers like Aardman, for example.
> YouTube launched an ambitious partner programme recently; how’s that going?
We started in January and it’s going really well. We’re working across all European markets, to see what works best. There’s a lot of variety across one continent! Comedy’s a great example of country-specific content; or videos in Italian, for example, rarely cross national borders, as noone else speaks that language.
How does the programme work?
If you’re a partner, we show ads against your videos, and you get a share of that revenue. Normal users only get the opportunity to monetise individual videos if they get a lot of views. With partners, we do it on every video, and offer producers advice and services that normal users don’t get.
>We’ve already mentioned here on MIPBlog that some US comedians are making up to $70,000 per year purely from YouTube. Are you seeing that level of success in Europe yet?
We’re definitely starting to see the same sort of successes in Europe over the past year or two. But we don’t want to focus on revenue. The priority is getting great content out there; the money comes second.
> So why should producers upload their videos to YouTube?
With us, you have all the means you need to get your videos viewed. And unlike with a broadcaster, you decide when and how that happens. That said, we also want to help people develop their skills and potentially evolve beyond YouTube. There’s a producer call Fred, for example, who is now on Nickelodeon. So we want to help our YouTube stars become more successful.
> Devil’s advocate question: Why should producers need broadcasters any more?!
Broadcasters can target specific audiences at specific times. They know, for example, what will work best at 7pm. YouTube’s not trying to take over the world; we’re working together to create opportunities that didn’t exist before.
> What’s working for YouTube producers right now? Any breakout genres?
A good success story is an Italian series called “Freaks!” (above): they’ve been so successful they’ve just confirmed a second series. We’ve also been working with film schools, as that’s where the next generation of producers and creators are coming from; a lot of them are into shortform films, or documentaries. Right now though, documentaries don’t tend to work on YouTube, as our viewers usually want to see shortform content. We’re starting to see more, but they can be costly to produce. So we’re hoping to see these producers make more money, so they can gain more funding to make more documentaries.
Other big genres are anything entertainment-related, including comedy; gaming is very big, especially in Germany; “how to” videos do well; and animation, like Simon’s Cat or asdfmovie, is doing well too; and becoming increasingly sophisticated.
> I gather YouTube selects partners based not only on the quality of their content, but on their level of social media engagement too. Is that correct?
Yes. It’s more a question of luck if you simply upload and people discover your work. You have to tweet it, Facebook it and comment about it. You also see things like our partners doing shout-outs to each other; that’s a great way to build audience. Some US partner channels already act like incubators, driving people to new content.
This engagement part is one of the aspects TV and film people are least good at. We’ve seen lots of companies upload programmes that worked well on TV, but didn’t work on YouTube. That’s one of the reasons we created the Creator’s Playbook…
> You launched the Playbook last year, as a way to help producers optimise their use of YouTube…
Absolutely. And we’ve now developed a new version, as the platform is evolving all the time: so our tips need to as well. We’ll be revealing that new version at MIPCube; so at our session, we wat to help you make your content as successful as possible on YouTube. And those tips apply just as much to individual producers as they do to broadcasters.
McDermottroe hosts “Producing for YouTube Success – A Creators’ Masterclass for Content Producers” Saturday, 31st March (12:05) at MIPCube. Sign up for the session here!
Other MIPCube workshops offer face to face time with digital commissioners, transmedia trailblazers, the Pirate Bay & more! Sign up here.