Major online video network Fullscreen has launched the Million Dollar Creator Fund, a pot of money that will go to its own partners for advertising and promotion, the company announced Friday.
Every month, the company will select four channels to receive up to $10,000 in pre-roll advertising for their channels, and Fullscreen will also pay its other partners to make promotions for those channels.
Most YouTube creatives still heavily rely on the video titan to sell ads and on themselves for promotion. Though Fullscreen already offers some marketing assistance, it has decided to increase its investment in audience development to help its creators get above the unyielding noise of channels on YouTube.
"We initially considered having a production fund," founder and CEO George Strompolos (left) told TheWrap. "We've realized we can most effectively support our partners not by financing or co-producing -- though we do some of that -- but by injecting a bit of marketing to catalyze what they're doing. Our producers have been able to hone their craft but aren't being seen by a large audience."
Though Fullscreen YouTubers like Megan Nicole and the HodgeTwins reach millions, many others go unnoticed. This fund is aimed at helping those that are producing high-quality content but remain insivisible.
Fullscreen pays for two kinds of marketing. One leverages its own technology, Gorilla, which identifies other talent in its network that might want to let their fan bases know about up and coming creators. In this case, Fullscreen will pay this talent to make videos or shoutouts for whichever creators the fund has selected.
The other kind of marketing leverages YouTube's TrueView ad format – the pre-roll advertisements before most videos. Fullscreen has experimented with running episodes of content within TrueView, and offering teasers to viewers of related content. It will also air some of the Gorilla-powered ads in that space.
For example, for TheAimlessCook, a food-focused channel, it can air a promotional teaser before shows on other cooking channels.
Fullscreen has conducted preliminary tests to see how this new marketing approach could benefit its partners. Early tests with AimlessCook lifted his subscriber count by 400 percent in a week. Granted, it still has a few more than 15,000 subscribers.
"Does that make him a top 10 YouTube Channel? No," admitted Strompolos. "Does it change his trajectory? Yeah."
Andre Meadows, a Fullscreen partner who operates a channel called "Black Nerd Comedy," said the new fund provide a huge boost to the mid-level YouTuber.
"There are a lot of people who make good content but need a push," Meadows told TheWrap. "You have people at the mid-level, trying to get to the next level."
"For many YouTube creators, they handle promotion themselves on Twitter or Facebook," Meadows added. "Then there are creators who don't even think about marketing."
Fullscreen will choose potential beneficiaries using a variety of metrics. In some cases, it will select a channel with a video that recently went viral, hoping to capitalize on that for long-term growth. In other cases it will pick someone who has used Gorilla to promote other Fullscreen partners, rewarding them for their unselfishness.
"Some of it may be subjective," Strompolos said. "This thing is awesome; more people need to see it. We're not Google; we don't make all our decisions based on algorithm."
Strompolos is a former Google employee. He played a hand in Google's evolution before leaving to found FullScreen. He sees this project as evidence of the platform's evolution and the greater burden content companies must shoulder.
"You have a network, Fullscreen, really putting its money where its mouth is and promoting its own channel in a similar regard to how YouTube has in the past, but using its own proprietary tools," Strompolos said. "They're excited."
- Arts & Entertainment