Google is making it easier than ever for the internet-famous to kick the production value of their videos up a notch with the launch of the new YouTube Space in London earlier this week.
Tucked away on the ground floor of Google's new offices in the King's Cross area of the British capital, the 20,000-foot Space is kitted out with a community area, high-ceilinged studios, state-of-the-art editing suites, VR capture and 4K live-streaming facilities.
But the Space, which opened on Tuesday, is more than a networking-and-production hub for the UK's most successful YouTubers. A YouTube Creators Store, which will sell merchandise featuring or endorsed by famous YouTube faces, is set to open next month. The facility also features a Dolby-certified 4K screening facility where YouTubers will be cable to showcase new content exclusively to fans.
The influence of top YouTubers can't be underestimated, with many boasting millions of subscribers and views that have undoubtedly contributed to the success and evolution of the platform.
London was the first city to get a dedicated YouTube Space back in 2012. Vloggers were joined there by famous faces including Hillary Clinton and the singer Ed Sheeran to make videos that have in total generated 328 million views. The new facility marks a major upgrade and investment from Google, both in YouTube and in British creators.
"We didn't start 11 years ago with the ambition of creating this whole new generation of talent," said Ben McOwen Wilson, YouTube's director for the EMEA region, at the Space's launch, praising the authenticity and diversity of YouTube personalities coming out of the UK.
Unlike traditional content publishers who have commissioning editors and artistic directors, there is no-one at YouTube who directs or polices talent, McOwen Wilson said. Instead it's down to individual vloggers to find their audience, and once they do, the Space is there for them to take their videos to the next level.
"We're giving them access to tools that are unimaginably expensive," he said.
Any professional broadcaster would be envious of the setup at YouTube. But it doesn't matter how many years you've put in at the BBC -- the Space is strictly reserved for top social talent. Access to the Space, its studios and equipment operates just like a frequent flyer program, with tiers featuring different perks dictated by the number of subscribers a YouTuber can boast.
In addition to providing YouTubers the tools to make more ambitious videos, the Space also hosts workshops and provides help to those building still building their audiences. The hub has been designed, McOwen Wilson said, "to give them a space that reflects where creators are now and where they are going in the future."