Google Acquires Branded Content Platform FameBit

The Hollywood Reporter

Most YouTube stars rely on sponsorships and paid promotions from brands to make money off their online videos, and now YouTube-owner Google has acquired a company that will make it easier for those stars to find such deals. 

Google announced Tuesday that it has purchased FameBit, a Santa Monica-based startup that developed technology to broker brand deals for online stars. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. 

While many top creators work with YouTube multichannel networks or their agents to land lucrative sponsorship deals, FameBit is especially helpful to smaller, mid-sized creators looking to connect with brands. The company's brand endorsement deals start for as low as $100, and the company says the more than 25,000 videos produced through its marketplace have generated 406 million views. 

YouTube began offering a cut of advertising revenue to creators nine years ago with the launch of its partner program. Since then, YouTube has funded top channels and creators to help them make premium content that would be attractive to brands. The company says that this year the top 100 advertisers increased their spend on YouTube video ads by 50 percent. 

"We believe that Google's relationship with brands and YouTube's partnerships with creators, combined with FameBit's technology and expertise, will help increase the number of branded content opportunities available, bringing even more revenue into the online video community," vp product management Ariel Bardin wrote in a blog post announcing the deal.

She continued: "Our hope is that FameBit's democratized marketplace will allow creators of all sizes to directly connect with brands, as well as provide a great technology solution for companies like MCNs and agencies to find matches for their creators and brand partners." 

For now, FameBit, which was funded out of Science, the startup studio from former Myspace CEO Mike Jones, will remain a stand-alone operation. YouTube says its creators will continue to have a choice in how they work with brands. 

"With Google's relationship with brands large and small, and YouTube's partnership with creators around the globe, we hope to connect even more brands to creators, engage more audiences, and make brand marketing more creative and authentic than ever," co-founders David Kierzkowski and Agnes Kozera wrote in a blog post.