NZ On Air and Google have teamed up to give successful New Zealand YouTube creators the opportunity to hone their craft, learn from experts and build new audiences. The scheme is similar to one YouTube and Screen Australia introduced earlier this year.
The $300,000 joint fund, Skip Ahead, has been created, is for YouTubers to create narrative-driven webseries content. The fund is only open to YouTubers with an existing subscriber base of 10,000+. As several local YouTubers have substantial audiences, NZ On Air is keen to get them watching some quality local content.
Almost 40 NZ YouTubers have subscriber bases of 100,000+, with well over 100 meeting the 10,000 subscribers cut-off. Some YouTubers are already moving into professional screen industry work. Jamie Curry, whose channel has close to 1.4 million subscribers, will appear in Alison Maclean’s The Rehearsal, which premieres at this year’s NZIFF.
As well as financial support, the Skip Ahead scheme will provide networking opportunities and skill development workshops to help Kiwi creators make new webseries and grow their global audience.
Application criteria are fairly tight and specifically exclude how to videos, lifestyle projects, advertorial or advertising focused material. NZ On Air also expects that projects “should represent a clear step-up in terms of storytelling ambition and production values”.
“There is some exciting talent among New Zealand YouTubers. They have ideas and enthusiasm, and in many cases, significant audiences. This fund will help some of these creatives take the next step in their careers, and fully explore using digital media to tell New Zealand stories,” said NZ On Air Chief Executive Jane Wrightson.
The joint initiative is another way in which NZ On Air is leveraging partnerships to expand funds available for New Zealand content. It also fits with the funding agency’s strategy to ‘go where the audiences are’- ensuring local content reaches diverse audiences on multiple platforms.
A Request for Proposals is open until 30 August.