YouTube is announcing a new program to nurture the next generation of video bloggers.
The Next Vlogger initiative is part of YouTube Next Creator — where, as the name implies, the site tries to find and mentor future YouTube stars. It already held similar programs for cooking and fitness, as well as nonprofits.
Creative program manager Austin Lau says he’s looking for vloggers who have already “put in some time trying to make YouTube work” and built a following, but who aren’t quite top-tier stars. The winners will receive $5,000 worth of video equipment and $10,000 worth of promotion on YouTube and elsewhere. They’ll participate in educational workshops with Google+, and they’ll receive mentorship from “top vloggers” like Justine Ezarik, a.k.a. iJustine.
Ezarik tells me that she sees this as an extension of the mentorship that she’s already doing through her show Vlog University. She’s hoping to offer a range of advice, technical and non-, she’s even open to working on collaborative videos.
Ezarik has parlayed her YouTube stardom into assorted TV appearances, so she says she’s often asked whether YouTube leads to bigger things. Clearly it can, but she adds, “I think YouTube itself is actually a pretty big thing.”
Once the Next Vlogger program is complete, Lau says he’s hoping the participants, in addition to becoming super-famous, will serve as “ambassadors to the greater YouTube community,” who share what they’ve learned. Lau also says the vloggers could be well-placed to participate in “opportunities not necessarily available to greater public,” like YouTube’s Partner program.