YouTube invests $20 million in educational videos, giving advertisers more safe places for ads

  • YouTube will invest $20 million in creators who are making educational videos on its platform.
  • Not only does it support educational video creators, but it will add brand-safe content marketers want to advertise next to.
  • YouTube will also help companies find appropriate educational YouTubers for sponsored content through a partnership with FameBit, as well as create channels and conferences for "learning" content.
Susan Wojcick, CEO of YouTube
Larry Busacca | WireImageGetty Images
Susan Wojcick, CEO of YouTube

Google's YouTube is investing $20 million into getting more educational videos ranging from cooking tutorials to science explainers on its platform.

The move will provide more brand-safe content for marketers to advertise on. YouTube videos have faced closer scrutiny since March 2017, when a Times of London report revealed advertisements from top brands were running next to neo-Nazi and jihadist content. It faced another challenge in November 2017 after ads were shown appearing next to sexualized child-related content. The company has made several moves to address the issues, including becoming more selective on which YouTube channels are eligible for monetization.

This investment into educational content, which was announced on Monday as part of the YouTube Learning initiative introduced in July 2017, earmarks $20 million to fund the videos and expands support for these kinds of video creators. It also introduces more ways for brands to find appropriate YouTube videos.

"What we're really interested in is spotlighting and supporting very trustworthy and credible content," Malik Ducard, YouTube's global head of learning, said.

Initial grant recipients include TedEd, the educational arm of Ted Conferences, and Vox, as well as YouTube creators Crash Course and Socratica.

"I used to teach a classroom of kids, 30 kids at a time" said Kimberly Harrison, head writer and producer of Socratica. "Now I teach hundreds of thousands at a time. It's amazing."

YouTube will also introduce a new channel called Learning, which will become a hub to find tutorials, DIY videos, explainers and skill-based content. Other organizations will provide additional videos, including job skills clips from Goodwill. The videos will be selected using automated and human-selected techniques.

Marketers will be able to advertise on these kinds of videos through a partnership between YouTube and influencer marketing company FameBit, which Google acquired in 2016. The two companies are working together to connect educational video creators with brands for sponsored opportunities.

In addition, YouTube will grow its educational conference YouTube EduCon to India and the U.K, add more online courses for YouTube creators looking to make educational videos, and hosting a NextUp creator camp for educational video creators.

"If you've watched the polarization of the people in this country, [educational videos] kind of bring people together," Destin Sandlin, who created YouTube channel Smarter Every Day and educational video conference ThinkerCon, explained. "It's kind of a media literacy thing as well."

Note: CNBC parent company NBCUniversal is an investor in Vox.