It's time for Maker Studios to spread past its YouTube roots. The Disney-owned Web video network announced Maker Gen on Thursday, a way for aspiring online stars to grow their presence through a structured program.
Unlike the 5,000 other Maker publishers who have established themselves as brands, Maker Gen will focus on the up-and-coming 50,000 YouTube partners and will branch out to include creators from other platforms, keeping in line with its NewFronts announcements. The program boasts forums for members to communicate as well as help with development, brand partnerships and collaborative efforts, a company spokesperson said.
Maker Gen members include Bill Warlow, who started his channel last year and now has a more than 20,000-member following. The multi-channel network hopes to give him the extra push to help him reach the next level.
There will be a three-pronged approach at evaluating where an online creator stands: Elements (those who are just starting their careers), Evolve (those who are beginning to build their audience) and Emerge (those who have started to turn heads as top talents). Maker Studios emphasized that the distinctions are being made to help allocate resources and specify how the company can best aid each individual, but everyone would be considered to be a member of its family.
To apply for the program, any YouTuber with a "modest viewership" can apply for the program at makergen.com. The Los Angeles-based company will also be personally scouting talent who are starting to show a large social and online presence on other platforms.
Maker also announced Maker Shop, a relaunch of its commerce store formerly known as Rodeo Arcade, where fans can buy products sold and created by its talent pool.