NEW YORK: YouTube's strategy of creating channels is aimed at helping viewers find content more easily and building a structure that advertisers can understand in the same way they understand TV, a leading executive has said.

Jamie Byrne, director of content strategy, told eMarketer, that the entire YouTube experience was now based around this "channelification", with an increasing focus on original programming, whether from established talent such as film director Ridley Scott, or new talent breaking through.

He cited the example of Smosh, with its parodies of movies and video games making it the first creators to pass 10m subscribers. "Then you can start to talk about real scale that advertisers can begin to understand and align around," said Byrne.

And he highlighted how fast the strategy was developing: "A year ago, we had 78 channels that had a million subscribers, and today there are 325 channels at that level".

He also reported that all the top 100 advertisers "are advertising or have advertised on YouTube in the past couple of months".

In a new development, the business is seeking to make it easier for creators to produce quality content with production facilities available in Los Angeles, London, Tokyo and New York where creators can work together and share audiences.

Byrne said that the New York "creator space" would have a brand lab at the same facility, where brands could collaborate with creators. "They'll also learn about best practices and how they can use YouTube to build their own audiences around a channel," he added.

He observed an increasingly symbiotic relationship with streaming sites such as Netflix and Hulu which commissioned content. "We encourage our creators to distribute not only on YouTube, but to look at opportunities with Netflix, Hulu or," said Byrne.

Mindshare, the marketing services company, noted earlier this year, when reviewing YouTube's new channel design, that YouTube subscribers were highly engaged and likely to share content with friends, making them potentially strong brand advocates.

In addition, since subscribers tend to watch twice as much video as non-subscribers, it said that having a good video strategy was important to be able to foster real engagement around a brand.

Data sourced from eMarketer; additional content by Warc staff