Google offering bonuses to YouTube stars as rivals circle

Bonuses are being offered to some of YouTube’s biggest stars in an attempt to stop them being lured away by rival networks, a report has claimed.

A person close to the company told The Wall Street Journal that YouTube has been in a fire drill” led by global head of business Robert Kyncl to try and retain the loyalty of key talent.

Another said that YouTube is addressing the matter with rare urgency”.

Cash bonuses are being offered in reward either for signing up to multi-year exclusivity deals or as a reward for hitting view targets, while YouTube has also been offering to fund additional programming.

YouTube video creators typically receive a 55 per cent share of advertising revenue generated by their videos, and the site has until now been keen to keep that consistent across both its big stars and personal home video uploaders.

The move comes as rivals such as Facebook step up their interest in video content, although it is video startup Vessel that is apparently causing the most concern.

Vessel, founded by former Hulu chief executive Jason Kilar, has raised $75m in venture funding and is on the hunt for exclusive programming ahead of its subscription-based launch before the end of the year and is apparently offering out some incredibly attractive” terms.

YouTube’s concern is said to come from the fact that it is user subscriptions to big-name channels that are the key drivers of return traffic, as opposed to people simply following links to videos of cats.

Significant recurring traffic is central to YouTube’s own paid subscription plans, which began to surface with the site’s music subscription service that went into testing last month.

YouTube’s biggest star, PewDiePie, has previously spoken of – and quickly distanced himself from – his desire to establish his own video network outside of YouTube.

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