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Is YouTube getting more professional?

After several weeks of rumors, YouTube has finally acquired Next New Networks. Next New Networks has built a reputation for helping create and product professional-level original Chicago videographer content. And YouTube wants that reputation for themselves, along with overall better content, which they believe will lead to higher audience numbers and longer on-site attention spans.

YouTube says they will also use the technology and creative brain power of Next New Networks to incubate new video production ideas and concepts–”a laboratory for experimentation and innovation.”

Every once in a while, YouTube just casually drops some eye-popping stats into a product or service announcement. Like they did with this one. Here are a few of the impressive statistics included in the Next New Networks release:

  • There are over 15,000 worldwide members of the partner program. And millions more creators who wish they could get into the secret club. In fairness, I think that’s part of what YouTube Next is all about–getting more creators up to the partner level, both in the quality of content and the official status.
  • The number of partners making $1,000 per month or more has grown by 300% since early 2010. That’s more than respectable… that’s downright impressive.
  • There are “hundreds” of partners making “six figures” per year. Every time a news outlet runs a story about how partners are making tons of money on YouTube, there are rumblings that the numbers aren’t correct. And whether or not the numbers reported in the past are disputable, this is YouTube themselves, certifying that “hundreds” of them are making $100,000 a year… or more.

YouTube’s Director of Global Content Operations, Tom Pickett, thinks they can do even better with the help of the Next New Networks team:

“But frankly, ‘hundreds’ making a living on YouTube isn’t enough and in 2011 we know we can and should do more to help our partners grow.”

To any potential video creators that have assumed they’d already missed the “make money on YouTube” boat: it’s probably not too late. From the sound of it, YouTube plans to add more partners–probably soon–and then equip them with the resources, tools, and guidance they need to create and market outstanding content.

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