YouTube helps its creators to sell merchandise to their fans

YouTube has a new secret weapon in the online video wars: cuddly toys. The Google-owned video streaming pioneer is looking for new ways to help its army of content creators make money. Advertising, the main money spinner for the people producing video content, has become more uncertain, as brands fret about appearing alongside unsavoury clipsAs additional incentives, YouTube is looking to help its creators sell merchandise to their fans, from soft toys to T-shirts… When YouTube launched in 2005, its first video showed co-founder Jawed Karim wearing an oversized mac, standing in front of two elephants, describing their trunks over the sound of giddy children in the background. This week, when Instagram launched IGTV, its first standalone video app, it was filled with videos from social media influencers and celebrities… YouTube can draw on its parent company’s dominance in search and offers huge scale: 1.9 billion monthly logged-in users, up from 1.5 billion a year ago… But Facebook’s family of apps also has a vast audience, which it can use as a springboard for new offerings. With IGTV, Instagram hopes to replicate the success it had with Stories, the 24-hour photo collection feature it borrowed from Snapchat. By putting the new longer-form video in front of its existing billion users, it aims to build a successful platform for creators and advertisers almost overnight.
Tim Bradshaw and Hannah Kuchler