YouTube Says It Will Bring Advertisers Into Its Partner Program, Starting This Fall

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YouTube just announced (as part of this week’s Cannes Lions advertising event) that it’s expanding its partner program to include advertisers.

The program already provides the top YouTube content creators with access to resources for improving their production skills and distribution (and as a result improve their monetization).

YouTube says the advertising program will be structured identically to the existing partner program — just, y’know, for advertisers. The program will start in September with a week-long workshop in Los Angeles. Each advertiser will be assigned a partner manager to help them develop their content strategy.

“By inviting advertisers into our partner program, we hope to give them access to resources and expertise that will help them develop even more compelling and authentic content on YouTube,” said Lucas Watson, YouTube’s vice president of video online global sales, in the announcement press release.

With this program, YouTube-owner Google seems to be encouraging businesses to create advertising that’s designed specifically for the video site, rather than just repackaging existing TV ads and video content. Those kinds of custom campaigns could potentially be more lucrative for YouTube and its content partners. The company also says it will “facilitate the development of strategic alliances with some of YouTube’s top creators” so that advertising and content can be integrated in new ways.

The initial advertising partners are American Express, General Electric, Johnson & Johnson and PepsiCo, along with their ad agencies. This is currently just a pilot program, but YouTube plans to expand it to include 100 advertisers by the end of 2014.