YouTube Announces Partner Grants Program, Support For 4K Video Resolution

It’s been a big week for YouTube news. On Wednesday, the company launched a new HTML5-based mobile site, as well as the slick-looking YouTube Leanback. Today, during a keynote at VidCon, the site made a few more announcements: YouTube is adding support for video shot in the 4K video format — a very high resolution that clocks in at 4096 x 3072). And it’s also creating a new $5 million Partner Grants program that’s meant to help spur the creation of original content on YouTube by funding promising video ventures.

In a blog post, YouTube writes that the goal of the Grants program “is to act as a catalyst by infusing additional funds into the production budgets of a small group of YouTube partners who are at the forefront of innovation” and says that these funds will be serving as “an advance against the partner’s future revenue share”.

Here how the program works:

  • YouTube is identifying eligible partners based on factors such as video views, subscribers, growth rate, audience engagement and production expertise
  • Selected partners are contacted by YouTube and invited to submit a Grant proposal
  • Proposals are evaluated by YouTube based on signals which include projected performance, distribution plan, marketing plan, cost requirements and appeal to advertisers
  • If approved, funds are transferred to the partner so they can get started on their project

As for the 4K video resolution support, it’s really big: YouTube says that the ideal screen size for 4K video is 25 feet. Not to mention that the cameras needed to record in 4K resolution are quite expensive. So yes, this might be a little overkill for your average consumer recording, but it’s clear that it could definitely have professional applications.  YouTube also notes that if you want to watch a video shot at 4K you’ll need a very fast broadband connection.

All of this is clearly meant to help YouTube boost the amount of original, high-quality content on the site (in other words, it is growing beyond the 10 minute clips of cats on Roombas that are its bread-and-butter).  According to a report in AdAge, YouTube “envisions someone directing the money toward a short film or to increase their current level of production on YouTube”.  It sounds like the only restriction is that the primary mode of distribution for these videos has to be YouTube.