YouTube funds multi-million-dollar initiative to keep its stars from bolting

With many of its most prolific producers looking for greener pastures at insurgent online-video platforms, YouTube has announced a multi-million-dollar initiative aimed at holding on to some of its biggest stars.

The program, as outlined by Re/code, differs from previous "premium content" pushes made by Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) dominant online-video platform: Instead of courting mainstream entertainment stars, such as Madonna, this time YouTube is aiming to support homegrown talents, like fashion star Bethany Mota.

"Now, we feel the time is right to make another important investment in our creators," writes YouTube content executive Alex Carloss in a company blog post. "That's why we've decided to fund new content from some of our top creators, helping them not only fulfill their creative ambitions but also deliver new material to their millions of fans on YouTube."

Re/code says the budget for the initiative is modest--in the "single-digit millions" range. In late-2011, the company earmarked around $100 million to underwrite established media stars and brands to create "premium" video content. Little in the way of successful, long-lasting online-video franchises was gestated from that effort, however.

This latest initiative comes as YouTube's biggest traffic generators are grumbling about advertising-revenue splits and exploring other online-video platforms, such as IAC's Vimeo and Vessel, the upcoming video service being prepped by former Hulu CEO Jason Kilar.

For more:
- read this YouTube blog post
- read this Re/code story

Related links:
Online advertising drives Q2 ad growth, YouTube revenue projected to hit $5.9B in 2014, reports say
YouTube's value to advertisers touted by Google execs
Report: YouTube took in $3.5B in revenue in 2013, well below analyst forecasts

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