The longstanding knock against YouTube has been that it is all kittens and wipeouts, with little quality content. That’s never stopped the video service from generating amazing levels of traffic and engagement, but with the progress of premium video sites, notably Hulu, Google might be taking the concern more seriously now.
Still, this is something of a departure for Google, which has repeatedly said that the one thing it doesn’t do is content creation. That hasn’t been quite true for a long time now — Google produces plenty of interviews and event coverage specifically for YouTube. But this takes it to a new level.
Asked about its change of heart on content, Google told us:
Our specialty is certainly not creating the content. We leave that to the experts. But we’ve seen some amazing content creators rise up over the years to get audiences that rival network television. Our goal with Partner Grants is to give these folks who are often doing 360 degrees of the content creation, production and marketing business, additional funds that they can use to buy better cameras, invest in more talent, or beef up their marketing. We look at this as a small first step in the broader evolution of partners on YouTube, but a giant leap forward in the evolution of online video.
It sounds like Google is still shying away from creating much content itself, but when it comes to paying others to generate premium video, the company may just be warming up.