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YouTube Hunting for Magazine Partners

FOLIO: reports from MPA's Magazines 24/7 Digital Conference.



By Dylan Stableford
02/27/2008

NEW YORK—While dozens of magazines have partnered with YouTube in recent months to create brand channels, the $1.6 billion video-sharing site wants more.

“It’s still early,” says Jordan Hoffner, head of premium content partnerships at YouTube, speaking at the Magazine Publishers of America’s 4th annual Magazines 24/7 digital conference in Manhattan Wednesday. “Despite what the CFOs say, there needs to be a bit of patience.”

In what amounted to a 45-minute sales pitch, Hoffner urged magazines to tap into YouTube’s massive audience—“hundreds of millions of streams a day” and 10 hours of video uploaded every minute—by giving up a modicum of brand control through aggregating users on their YouTube branded channels, as opposed to, say, their million-dollar Web sites.

“To lose a little bit of control gains a lot of market share,” Hoffner said.

Hoffner also urged magazines on YouTube to allow embedding of video on other sites, and to keep comments turned on.

Brands as large as Playboy and Sports Illustrated—and as small as Nylon—have partnered with YouTube, and Hoffner said no brand was too small to strike a deal. “We want to give users a sense of infinite choice,” he said.

Hoffner assured publishers that they control the ad inventory—“not us”—and that YouTube has had talks with upstart competitors like MySpace and Facebook about creating standards for ad units. Partners, he said, get “over 50 percent” of the ad revenue generated through YouTube.

But a partnership with YouTube doesn’t guarantee success, Hoffner admitted. Seventeen magazine’s recently launched channel has a relatively puny 373 subscribers (despite video footage backstage from the Victoria’s Secret show) and faces competition from longtime users with entrenched followings.

William Sledd, a flamboyant fashion critic known for his catch phrase “Hello bitches” and an unhealthy obsession with Anna Wintour, is the 12th most subscribed user of all time and sixth most subscribed partner of all time, Hoffner said.

So just how big is Sledd? There are 89,685 subscribers to his channel page.

FOLIO: @ MAGAZINES 24/7:
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By Dylan Stableford
02/27/2008







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