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Hearst Backs YouTube's New Original Channels

  |  November 1, 2011   |  Comments

Automotive and fashion channels will draw on Car and Driver, Harper's Bazaar, and other titles.

Hearst Magazine will launch two channels as part of YouTube’s new original channels initiative. An Automotive channel will draw on the expertise of staffers from Car and Driver, Road & Track, and Popular Mechanics, while a Fashion and Beauty channel will make use of resources from Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Seventeen, and Realbeauty.com.

While many Hearst magazine brands have had channels on YouTube for as long as five years, Kimberly Lau, VP of business development for Hearst Magazines Digital Media, says, "This represents a new level of partnership, and one we find more exciting."

That's because of the upside opportunity Hearst sees in Google's new push into original content.

On Friday, Google launched a new version of Google TV, saying it would expand its original video offerings to include channels created by personalities and content producers from TV, film, music, news, and sports. The Wall St. Journal has reported YouTube is putting up more than $100 million in cash advances to produce original content and monetize it with ads. YouTube reportedly will give up to 55 percent of net ad revenue to content producers.

Lau would not discuss terms of Hearst's deal with YouTube, but she said, "Fifty-five percent doesn't seem high to me."

She added that there's an art to operating on the YouTube platform, because it's a mix of video and social. "I don't think we've mastered that art yet," she said, "and this deal gives us the opportunity to dive into that, because of increased opportunities for monetization at levels that are really exciting."

Ad sales on the YouTube platform will be primarily handled by YouTube, but Lau said Hearst will discuss joint sales where it makes sense. "We're interested in bringing 360-degree programs to our advertisers interested in cross-platform. Part of the gist of this is the aim to bring TV dollars to online - and YouTube is uniquely positioned to drive that."

Hearst has extensive production capabilities, including its own digital video studio and a stake in Mark Burnett Productions. Hearst said that its in-house video team has produced more than 12,000 videos across its brands and nearly 200 hours of monthly video programming that is used on the company’s websites and tablet applications. Hearst will develop original content specifically for this platform, as well as using some of its existing video for the new original channels.

Hearst's move illustrates the growing momentum of original online video. Earlier this month, Yahoo unveiled new video initiatives.

By far the dominant player, YouTube reports more than 3 billion videos are viewed each day, and it monetizes more than 3 billion videos a week.

Said Lau, "They're really making an effort to support premium content development on their platform. YouTube has always been the number one video viewing portal. This takes them from user-generated content largely to a real premium focus."


Susan Kuchinskas

Susan Kuchinskas has covered interactive advertising since its invention. The former staff writer for Adweek, Business 2.0, and M-Business covers technology, business and culture from Berkeley, CA.

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