For brands questing to connect with viewers online, things may have just gotten a little bit easier, thanks to Fullscreen‘s Channel+, which is formally launching out of alpha status.
Channel+ is an initiative that endeavors to help major brands engage with YouTube (s GOOG) audiences using the same strategies that online content producers have refined over the years; it’s an initiative Fullscreen has been operating under the radar for the last two years, but is announcing properly today, while announcing additional services for its clients.
By signing up with Fullscreen for Channel+, brands receive access to a dashboard measuring the real time success of their content, asset management services and community management. Also, “we do the heavy lifting around SEO, user-generated content, end cards, playlist creation — there are different features across every point of optimization,” Fullscreen COO Ezra Cooperstein said.
In addition, three new features are launching today: Brand Amplifier, which partners brands with YouTube “influencers,” Channel Programming, which brings in the in-house editing team to create YouTube-friendly video mash-ups and similar content, and Community Management, because according to Cooperstein, “Brands have too long ignored that YouTube is a social network.”
The inspiration for Channel+, Cooperstein said, came organically. “We were developing a lot of interesting products for YouTube creators,” he said, “And we starting getting calls from brands saying ‘Can we have this?'”
So far, Channel+ participants have included NBC Universal, (s CMCST) GE, (s GE) Cartoon Network and others — Cooperstein said that Fullscreen is currently operating over 100 client channels. And according to a press release, that’s resulted in a 2200 percent increase in brand views and a 1500 percent increase in subscribers across those channels.
The division is technically separate from the other major part of Fullscreen’s business — serving the needs of a network of individual YouTube channels. “If you’re NBC, you don’t need a [multi-channel network], you need a support system, a team,” Cooperstein said. “It’s all about the day-in-day out strategizing, helping them build programming and helping them optimize it.”
Each Channel+ client has a dedicated account manager and dedicated operations manager; according to Cooperstein, a “significant number” of Fullscreen’s 200 employees are focused on this side of the business. “This isn’t just about a technology product,” Cooperstein said. “It really helps [brands] on the service side.”
However, that’s not to say that Fullscreen’s network of individual YouTube creators will necessarily suffer as a result; Cooperstein sees the two sides of the business as being synergistic. “One isn’t going to overtake the other,” he said. “It’s two businesses both focusing on the same platform.”
An example of how that might work: When looking for YouTubers to connect with brands, Fullscreen will turn to its own network first — though if the appropriate talent can’t be found, it will “of course” turn to other YouTubers.
By helping brands behave like said YouTubers, and engage with the platform’s social elements, Fullscreen hopes to bring brands into a different age of advertising. “There’s a belief that YouTube is going to win this battle to be the digital media platform of choice — and brands are now saying we need to be there,” Cooperstein said. “This is acknowledgement that this shift is happening.”
“Every brand looking at YouTube is realizing that their media dollars aren’t going as far as they used to — the value of interrupting TV with 30 second commercials diminishes every day,” he added. “But brands are realizing that they can be an enabler of conversation around content people love.”