Following its first outpost in Los Angeles, YouTube is opening a second U.S. studio space in New York City next month dedicated to bringing together video creators, traditional media companies and, hopefully, ad revenue from Madison Avenue. Similar to the L.A. studio, YouTube Space New York will serve as a state-of-the-art production facility, as well as a hub for networking events and educational workshops. It's all part of an effort to elevate the production value found on the video platform.
"Premium content is expensive to make," says Ilya Pozin, founder online video platform, Pluto.TV. By offering this studio space free of charge, YouTube is encouraging the creation of high-quality content "that can tie in well into [the company's] strategy to monetize through ad sales," he says.
YouTube Space New York will follow this strategy by becoming the platform’s go-to venue for advertisers to meet and mingle with video creators and learn more about branded entertainment.
"This democratizes the process and gives creators the opportunity to meet important people and pass out their business cards," says Marie Forleo, a New York City-based entrepreneur and host of the weekly YouTube show "MarieTV."
Last year Forleo and her team secured an adequate studio to produce the show, but she admitted that finding a quiet, affordable space in New York proved a struggle. "If YouTube Space was around then, it would have saved us a lot of money," she says.
Every interested YouTube user will be able attend events and workshops at the space. Production access to the soundstage and editing equipment is available to channels with 5,000 or more subscribers. Established channels also can apply for a three-month residency to have their content produced entirely in-house.
What's Trending, an online talk show hosted by Shira Lazar, was part of one of these residencies at YouTube Space Los Angeles. Since then Lazar and her video team have partnered with Samsung and Ford to produce sponsored content.
"I foresee a convergence where traditional media companies and brands will want to take advantage of how YouTube can engage with audiences in authentic ways," Lazar says.
Lazar adds that the expansion of YouTube's creator spaces is also a way for YouTube to create a sense of community and keep creators coming to the platform.
"There's a lot of bidding going on right now to take these popular YouTubers to other platforms" such as Vimeo, Hulu, and Amazon, Lazar says. "Maintaining loyalties is a big part of this."
New York video creators, eager to find a direct contact with a YouTube representative, hope that these spaces can connect the two.
"Unless you're friends with someone at Google, access to YouTube is nearly impossible," Forleo says. "It will be nice to have a human being to gently accost instead of getting lost in the black hole."
Besides the access to corporate decision-makers, the most valuable aspect of YouTube Space New York may be that it will bring fellow content creators together under one roof.
"In my four years doing my show, I have found that building genuine relationships with other YouTubers has been more profitable for me in the long run than someone handing me a check," Forleo adds.