YouTube wasn't broke, but Google decided to fix it anyway, back when YouTube was pulling in a mere 800 million video views per month. So why would Google pump a bunch of money into YouTube to make it more like TV, when TV is a dinosaur that YouTube is in the process of destroying? The short answer is: for the money.
Google discovered that it can pitch new ad strategies to companies with money to spend, but it can't convince those companies - who are used to dealing with old media like print, radio and TV - to spend old-media-type money on web-based ads when those companies are used to buying their Internet campaigns for pennies on the dollar.
Google's solution: make YouTube more like TV so they can charge TV-like ad rates. Simple enough, but that process requires significant investment in content creators and A-list celebrities (like Jay-Z) in order to elevate the adorable puppy videos and the "Leave Brittney alone!" ranters and the slam dunk mix tapes into a higher CPM - cost per thousand impressions - from $2 CPM to something more like $20 per. That's why they're doing it.
This program to develop its own channel content has been afoot since 2011, when Google allotted $100 million for it. Now, the company is looking at the metrics, pulling funding from the floppers, and looking for its next round of original content creators along with another round of funding.
It's a double-edged sword for content creators: Yes, YouTube is throwing around money to improve its offerings, but having a bunch of views isn't going to be enough anymore. If users don't find your content interactive, then advertisers aren't interested, so therefore neither is YouTube.
So who are the new content creators of YouTube? Here are six of the most dynamic players in the market:
For non-video game players, this is completely below the radar - but there are millions of gamers around the world who apparently like to watch videos about video games when they're not playing video games, like this foul-mouthed (NSFW) review of the Transformers game by a fake Christopher Walken.
How many people watch this stuff? Try 4.8 million subscribers who have racked up 3.6 billion video views. If you click play, don't say we didn't warn you.
Machinima is so popular, that it now has competition in IGN, another major player in the videos for video gamers market. IGN has built a substantial following of 1.9 million subscribers who have watched its videos 1.9 billion times. Sure, that's a fraction of Machinima on both counts, but IGN's better subscriber-to-view count ratio is what YouTube and its advertisers like to see just as much as IGN's subscribers like to see news about the Batman movie reboot and a Marvel-themed TV show featuring S.H.I.E.L.D.
The BedRocket network runs four channels on YouTube: Network_A, an outdoor adventure and extreme sport channel; Kick TV, which is all soccer, all the time; Look TV, a exercise and fitness channel; and Official Comedy, which offers up this nugget of Mel Brooks talking about his opus Space Balls on its 25th anniversary. The subtext to that video is that if you remember Space Balls coming out as a new release on VHS, then you are old.
Between the four channels, BedRocket can claim over 469,000+ subscribers who have watched its videos more than 111 million times.
If YouTube wants eyeballs to come to its site chasing A-list celebrities they're used to seeing on TV, then it couldn't do much better than Jerry Seinfeld's Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, which is exactly what it sounds like. Each episode is about 12 minutes long and features Seinfeld picking up a comedian friend in a classic car to some diner for coffee.
Not sold yet? Watch Alec Baldwin call Jerry "a lazy, shiftless, no-good bastard."
Since its beginning, YouTube has been the place for folks to highlight their special skills, like someone who is very good at doing very bad lip readings. It is an art form that has been applied in equally hilarious ways to pop music, television and politics.
"YouTube and other social media have changed the game... it's a wonderful time to be a content creator," the anonymous man behind the Bad Lip Reading told New Media Rockstars.
Where else can you see Mitt Romney saying: "Marijuana is great. Call the whippit badger." It's a BLR called More Mitt.
Warner Music, one of the major record labels when that used to mean something, is doing its best to stay relevant these days with its own YouTube channel that seems to be performing well by the metrics - The Warner Sound, where almost 128,000 subscribers have watched its 228 videos nearly 107 million times.
That sort of subscriber-to-view count ratio suggests repeat visits and the sort of interactivity that YouTube and its advertisers want to see. Not to mention, plenty to keep users coming back with the "shows" captured in "The Live Room," like this session of five songs by Regina Spektor.
With content like this across these channels and more, a Citigroup analyst has predicted that YouTube's revenue will be $3.6 billion in 2012 - or 50 percent greater than its 2011 haul.
Check out the SAY Media YouTube channel here.