The concept of the YouTube celebrity is a relatively new thing. Entrepreneurial style bloggers, comedy cliques, singer-songwriters, gadget reviewers: All are carving out lucrative careers—sometimes in the six figures, sometimes in the millions—by creating video content and tallying up views.
As user-created video becomes increasingly lucrative–through advertising, merchandise, and spin-off businesses–competitors like Facebook, Vessel, and, to a lesser extent, Yahoo, have been trying to court YouTube’s big hitmakers to exclusive new content deals. In turn, Google is now forced to dangle counteroffers, reports the Wall Street Journal, in the form of “bonuses to sign multiyear deals in which they agree to post content exclusively on YouTube for a time before putting it on a rival service.”
The report suggests that YouTube is most concerned about Vessel, a yet-to-launch video platform that puts a premium on original content creators. The service has reportedly been gearing up for an impending launch by offering deals to YouTube’s biggest draws. The startup, which is supposed to launch in 2014, calls Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos an investor.
Google, to its credit, appears to have seen the forest for the trees for some time now. In September, a report circulated that YouTube had planned to invest “millions” on its homegrown stars, including promotional guarantees and the possibility of working with Hollywood producers.