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YouTube is investing $20M in educational content, creators

YouTube is investing $20M in educational content, creators


Including partnering with third-party studios and networks

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Hank Green
Hank Green in his Crash Course introduction video.
Crash Course/YouTube

YouTube is investing $20 million toward educational content through its new Learning Fund program.

Malik Ducard, global head of learning, announced the initiative today. Channels like TED-Ed, dedicated to educational Ted Talks, and Hank and John Green’s Crash Course have already secured additional funding, according to YouTube’s blog post. The company plans to invest in content from independent creators, like the Green brothers, as well as traditional news sources and educational organizations to broaden its content offering. (Disclaimer: Vox Entertainment, a division of Vox Media, The Verge’s parent company, is partnering with YouTube for a YouTube Premium explainer series.)

YouTube’s Learning Fund has a nice ring to it, but it isn’t a philanthropic charity. An FAQ about the program states that “successful applicants must enter into a written agreement with YouTube. This agreement will contain more details about required deliverables, payment timelines, and other terms and conditions.”

“Successful applicants will be required to demonstrate that they have expertise.”

Creators must maintain a minimum of 25,000 subscribers. Those applying to the program also don’t need to have a degree or proper certification in their field, “but successful applicants will be required to demonstrate that they have expertise and/or that the content they produce is verified by an expert in the field.”

YouTube’s interest in developing more educational content is something the company has aggressively pushed for some time. The company announced in March that it was planning to invest $10 million over the next two years to promote better media literacy. Creators like ASAPScience and Smarter Every Day, both of which fall under YouTube’s educational bracket, are working with YouTube on the project.

It’s an area that YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki seems particularly passionate about. Wojcicki told Recode’s Kara Swisher at Code Media in February that educational videos were an area the company was interested in exploring. YouTube officially launched YouTube Learning, a specific grant program for educational creators, in July, reiterating that educational content was an area the company rapidly wanted to grow.

Creators must maintain a minimum of 25,000 subscribers

“We’re also expanding our learning content team efforts and have a newly dedicated product and engineering team working on building out features for learning on YouTube,” Wojcicki wrote in July. “Our hope is to support those who use YouTube to share their knowledge with the world and the millions of users who come to our platform to learn.”

It’s unclear how Learning Fund grants will be dispersed or how much creators will get paid versus third-party studios or networks. YouTube’s new update does state that the company has “already secured investments for sponsored content specifically for the [educational YouTube] community.”

More information about developments on the educational front is expected to be announced in the coming months.

Correction October 22nd, 7:55PM ET: This article’s photo caption initially misidentified Hank Green as his brother, John.