YouTube announced today that, starting next month, new original channels will start to roll out on its platform. YouTube has been working closely with content producers who will be creating new advertising-supported channels in the coming year for verticals including fashion, sports, music, comedy, animation, news and education.
The new channels are backed by some of the biggest producers and celebrities from Hollywood, some of the hottest emerging media companies, and some of the earliest pioneers of web video. YouTube has kick-started the creation of these channels and hopes the initiative will create new opportunities for both viewers and advertisers in their content ecosystem.
One lesser-known emerging media company involved in the channel roll out is San Francisco based creative studio, Seedwell (http://seedwell.com). No stranger to online video advertising, Seedwell has worked with brands like Pepsi, HTC, Blue Nile and Fujitsu and has produced several viral video hits, many of them in the tried-and-true music video parody format, amassing over 33 million views on YouTube. Such hits include “The New Dork”, “Telephone: The Office Version” (Lady Gaga parody), “Tweet It”, “Puke In My Mouth” (SNL parody), and “Big Dog Beta.”
Seedwell’s contribution to the YouTube initiative is a channel called “American Hipster” (http://youtube.com/americanhipster), which will launch in April of 2012 as a comedic channel that explores pop culture through the lens of hipsterism – that ironically popular movement built on not being popular. The American Hipster channel will feature three weekly shows. While two of them fall into popular YouTube formats—”Max Movie Reviews” is a Hollywood movie review show hosted by a funny, talking hipster baby (starring Maximus The Baby) and “Les Hip” is a weekly vlog-style roundup of pop trends and celebrity news hosted by two hilarious, ranting San Francisco hipsters (starring Robert Denning and Erika Shumate)—the third show, also titled “American Hipster,” delves into a format new to most YouTube audiences: short documentary. The flagship show for the channel, American Hipster (hosted by Paavo Steinkamp) is a traveling documentary-style series that explores contemporary hipster culture first-hand in multiple cities across the country.
Seedwell is also no stranger to documentary. The company’s new award-winning feature length film about an Iraqi Women’s Basketball team entitled “Salaam Dunk” is currently making waves in the international film festival circuit. The film has recently screened to packed audiences at the Los Angeles Film Festival and Chicago International Film Festival (where it won The Gold Plaque), and is set to screen in Qatar at the Doha-Tribeca Film Festival and the International Documentary Film Festival of Amsterdam later this year.
Seedwell hopes American Hipster’s blend of short and longer form content will engage much of YouTube’s massive youth audience and encourage them to spend more time on the site week after week.
“It’s really exciting to see YouTube work with a variety of content producers including people like us who have been dedicated to the YouTube platform since its inception,” said Peter Furia, Partner and Head of Creative and Marketing at Seedwell. ”YouTube has always been the best site for social video and we’re looking forward to being a part of building even larger dedicated audiences around this latest influx of high quality video content. We, of course, encourage people who are interested in American Hipster to subscribe to the channel on YouTube, and follow its shows’ Facebook pages and Twitter accounts.”
“Having YouTube support Seedwell’s production of regular content allows us to focus on what we do best – creating videos that people love to watch and share,” said Beau Lewis, Partner and Head of Business at Seedwell. ”This is also a great opportunity for our business; we believe the upside of online video advertising has yet to be fully realized and YouTube will play a key role in its evolution. We’re excited to be a part of it.”