Google looking to invest in content following YouTube upfront commitment

Google may make an investment in ‘virtual media company’ Machinima and other web video producers as part of a new focus on investing in content creation, according to US reports.

Machinima focuses on males aged 18-34 who are into gaming culture. The company distributes its content on YouTube rather than via its own destination site. Machinima claims to have aggregated the work of over 4,000 content creators to date. President and co-founder Philip Debevoise revealed plans to launch a Machinima Prime channel and expand its international presence at the MIPCube conference in Cannes a month ago.

According to the All Things D site, citing sources familiar with Machinima’s latest investment round, Google could be one of a number of investors to back the company, possibly via its Google Ventures unit. According to a report by Bloomberg, Google is also mulling other investments in professional-quality web video makers.

Machinima was one of the companies to take part in YouTube’s first ever advertising ‘upfront’ last week in New York, when the Google-owned video site presented its upcoming content offerings to advertisers, on the model of the upfronts traditionally presented by US broadcast and cable networks. YouTube’s global head of content Robert Kynci committed to invest US$100 million (€77 million) in content creation in the form of loans and a further US$200 million to market the channels created as a result.

YouTube announced three new channels at the event – Wigs, focusing on scripted dramas aimed at a female audience crated by producer Jon Avnet and director Rodrigo Garcia, TeamUSA from the US Olympic Committee, and Picture Show, created by Tribeca Enterprises, parent company of the Tribeca Film Festival, and YouTube producer Maker Studios. The latter is expected to launch later this year.