Founded just two years ago, YouTube has exploded into one of the Web's greatest phenomena. Today, media companies have found that becoming a YouTube partner - complete with their own branded channel - is one of the fastest ways for old media properties to exponentially, and economically, increase reach.
Michael Spirito, director of business development at YES Network, a regional sports network that features the New York Yankees, says being a branded YouTube channel offers the advantage of being able to expand terrestrially.
"With YouTube, we [can] take our brand and be wherever our viewers are and where our advertisers want to be," says Spirito.
For YES, a local entity within a global brand, 10 million people within the territory are watching the network. YouTube allows YES to go outside the scope of regional viewers to reach fans around the world. These viewers can also log on to YES' home page to get more content afterward.
"Being able to come up with user-generated content allows your company to create its own look and feel in the YouTube environment," says Spirito. "Being a partner on YouTube allows for more eyeballs on our content."
Next New Networks (NNN), which hosts Fast Lane Daily, a daily three-minute automotive show, uses its branded YouTube channel to connect more closely with self-selected viewers.
"Programming doesn't exist without an audience; YouTube provides a single outlet for audience connection," says Emil Rensing, NNN's cofounder and programming head. "YouTube definitely makes it easier to acquire new viewers, and it widens our reach."
The beauty of YouTube lies in its ability to attract and engage all viewers, including every demographic in the US and beyond.
"It's a great tool and utility where you can get premium placement from time to time, while driving audience sales in a more meaningful way," Rensing notes.
For NNN, he adds, it's better off serving on YouTube because "we don't have to pay for delivery - at least not yet."
YouTube is a relatively cheap and effective distribution network for media companies
Becoming a branded partner channel on YouTube can get a company premium placement on the site
Branded channel partners have a strong level of editorial and operational control over their content