Posted:
As you might have already heard, today we are pleased to announce that short-form content from the Disney/ABC Television Group, including ABC Entertainment, ABC News, ABC Family and SOAPnet, and ESPN is coming to YouTube, bringing an even greater audience to much-loved shows.




Over on ABC's YouTube channel, which officially launches in early May, you'll find clips of popular prime-time shows like Lost, Desperate Housewives and Grey's Anatomy, as well as behind-the-scenes footage, celebrity interviews, online-only specials and a lot more. This video gives the 411 in under a minute:










ESPN's YouTube destination officially launches in mid-April, but if you go there now you can get a preview of the kinds of sports videos that will be uploaded to the channel: Sportscenter highlights, sports chatter from Bobby Knight, exclusive interviews with athletes like T.O. and, of course, the crazy commentary of Dick Vitale. In addition, ESPN's own Video Player will be integrated into the page, allowing fans access to the features and functionality that are already familiar to them. There will be more short-form content available through the YouTube player on the page.





Best,

Nick Mehra

Strategic Partner Development

The YouTube Team

Posted:
Amazingly, it's been two weeks since our last adoptafeature post and, though we've gotten some good new submissions since then, like this video from BeforeandAfterTV, we're still hungry for more, more, more. So we thought we'd up the ante a bit. For one, this Thursday, we're planning a homepage "Adopt a Feature" takeover during which we'll highlight many of the videos created thus far for the program, about one every hour. (Remember: these videos must adhere to our Terms of Service.) Watch, comment, rate -- then pick up your video camera and try to top these pioneers by doing a better, more creative job of explaining any of these six features yourself: AudioSwap, Country Pulldown, Insight, Playlists, Quick Capture, and Subscriptions. Don't forget to include the tag "adoptafeature" in your video; this is essential for it to be discoverable.



Two, if we feature your video in this installment or in a future showcase, there's a neat-o YouTube T-shirt with your name on it. All your friends will be very jealous.



Looking forward to seeing what you come up with. Be back April 14 with the next update.



Cheers,

Hunter Walk

Director, Product Management

The YouTube Team

Posted:
When it comes to celebrity impersonation on YouTube, one thing is true: whether someone is grandstanding with 100 Impressions in Under Ten Minutes or making their first faltering steps into the world of funny voices, the spirit of Christopher Walken walks amongst us. For that reason alone, on his 66th birthday, we salute the wonderful world of the wannabe Walken.



You can hear him -- or, at least, someone pretending to be him -- as the voice of a GPS system, narrating Romeo and Juliet, or ordering an Icee at a drive-through. If you like to mix it up a little, you can watch a would-be-Walken ask not-actually-Kevin-Pollak for advice on playing poker. And speaking of Pollak, it seems that the Usual Suspects star couldn't resist throwing his own Walken impersonation into the ring when he decided to make his first video blog on YouTube.



Needless to say, not every Walken reaches the heights of this pre-election riff on Barack Obama. If you were thinking of torturing some vowel sounds in search of your own C.W. tribute, this extended video tutorial on Walken impersonation might be worth a look. However you choose to celebrate Christopher Walken's birthday, checking out this playlist of YouTube Walken worshipers is a good way to show Chris that you care.







Best,

Mark Day

YouTube Comedy

Posted:
In approximately two weeks, the members of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra will travel from around the world to New York City, where they will meet for the first time for the summit and performance at Carnegie Hall. In anticipation of this gathering, some of the winning musicians have created video introductions that reveal a bit about who they are and where they're from (there are even a few family member cameos). This reel of hellos gives you a glimpse of the musicians behind the instruments:







For the full collection of introductory videos, from Costa Rica, Malaysia, Bermuda, Israel, South Korea and beyond, watch this playlist:







Finally, don't delay in securing your seat to the debut YouTube Symphony Orchestra performance on April 15. Tickets are on sale now at the Carnegie Hall Box Office.



See you at the Symphony,

Michele Flannery

YouTube Music

Posted:
There are a lot of ways to discover comedy content on YouTube: browsing the comedy category , subscribing to comedy channels, exploring the related video suggestions when watching comedy videos, and tracking friend activity are just some ideas. Indeed, exploring the site can be half the fun. But sometimes it's nice to kick back and find a collection of guaranteed funny stuff all in one place. That's where Best in Jest comes in. It's a destination for videos from some of our favorite comedy partners, presented by Observe and Report, the new movie from Warner Brothers, starring Seth Rogen.



Best in Jest contains top-shelf comedic content from channels like TheOnion,
barelypolitical, blamesocietyfilms and waverlyflams in a special player. You can also check out a playlist that includes some man-on-the-street interviews with stars like Seth Rogen, captured by YouTube user eyestoobright at the movie's world premiere. Nice catch, "eyes"!







We'll be adding more clips to Best in Jest over the next week, so come back often.



Best,

Mark Day

YouTube Comedy

Posted:

Earlier this week, we announced the launch of YouTube EDU (youtube.com/edu), a hub for videos from over 100 of our leading university and college partners. Think campus tours, news about cutting-edge research, and lectures by professors and world-renowned thought leaders. There are also 200 full (and free!) courses, in a range of subjects, from some of the world's most prestigious universities, including IIT/IISc, MIT, Stanford, UC Berkeley, UCLA, and Yale.



There are over 20,000 videos on YouTube EDU and growing. Here are some gems to get you started:




  • * As your mind expands, learn exactly what's going on with "Building the Brain: From Simplicity to Complexity" from UC San Diego, presented on UCtv, University of California Television: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qY829SnAm5M


  • * Move over Free Hugs; here are the Free Compliments Guys from Purdue University: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QShPNcjgtfs


  • * And here is the late Professor John Hope Franklin, scholar of African-American history at Duke University, on Obama's election: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qPPNEpmcvIE



  • So if you want to know what college is like, have graduated but are a lifelong learner, or are just wondering how someone else teaches a subject that you're studying, here's your chance to find out. What’s more, this is all available on your terms -- you can learn at your own pace, in the comfort of your own environment, and there are no tests required.



    We will be adding new universities and colleges over time and will let you know in this blog when there's a good amount of new stuff to check out. If you're interested in launching an official YouTube channel for your school, please fill out the YouTube EDU Partner Interest Form.



    Happy Learning,

    Obadiah Greenberg

    Strategic Partnerships Team

    The YouTube Team

Posted:
This week, we launched a new "Call to Action" feature for YouTube's nonprofit partners, which allows them to use InVideo overlays to drive traffic to an off-YouTube web page, where they can collect signatures, email addresses, or even donations. Already, we're seeing nonprofit organizations use this new feature with great success.



On Sunday, to commemorate World Water Day, we featured a video from charity:water on the YouTube homepage. The video included a Call to Action overlay that encouraged YouTube users to donate money to help build wells and provide clean, safe drinking water for those who don't have it.







The response from the YouTube community was overwhelming -- thanks to you, charity:water was able to raise over $10,000 in one day from the video. That's enough to build two brand-new wells in the Central African Republic and give over 150 people clean drinking water for 20 years!



Feeling inspired? If you're a YouTube nonprofit partner, adding a Call to Action overlay is easy. Just go to "Edit Video" and fill out the fields in the section marked "Call to Action overlay." All you have to do is include a short headline, ad text, a destination url, and upload an optional image, and the overlay will appear whenever someone watches your video.



If you're a nonprofit organization in the U.S. or U.K. who hasn't yet joined the YouTube Nonprofit Program, but would like to gain access to Call to Action and other special benefits, you can apply now at www.youtube.com/nonprofits.



Yours,

Ramya Raghavan

YouTube Nonprofits & Activism

Posted:
NFL linebacker Dhani Jones is a true sportsman. When he's not tackling ball carriers for the Cincinnati Bengals, he's hosting a new show on YouTube partner Travel Channel in which he travels around the world playing interesting, unusual global sports. So far he's tried his hand at Muay Thai kick boxing, hurling, schwingen (Swiss wrestling), throwing a giant rock and being thrown from a horse. On his YouTube channel, he's got some exclusive content and a playlist of his favorite sports on YouTube.



Now he's looking for inspiration from the YouTube Community:







What interesting sports do you play? Why do you love your sport? Let Dhani know as a response to this video before April 6th, and check back to his channel after the 6th to see if he's selected your video.



Play on!


Andrew Bangs


YouTube Sports

Posted:
Traditionally after site maintenance we've only shared information about the most significant new features. But after watching you guys take to the forums and Twitter to discuss what else has changed, we figured more frequent, casual "release notes" would be good to publish as well. That way you can get a broader sense of what's new on the site, from major features to cosmetic touches, as well as background on the thinking or motivation behind some of these items.



* Upload Progress Bar: A new Flash uploader is up for all supported browsers and it comes with a long-awaited (and much-requested) feature: an upload progress bar that lets you know the status of your upload. Our next step will be providing the estimated video processing time for your upload.



* Simpler HD Parameter: We want to give you more control over how your video looks, including the option of it being eye-blazingly clear (HD), so we've now added an official URL parameter (hd=1) for sharing HD links.



* Tweet Tweet: Everyone's on The Twitter these days, so we've added a "share to Twitter" button under the Share options so you can easily send a video into your Twitterstream. (Feel free to change the prefilled text, if you like.) This was a big internal request, but we know many of you asked for it, too. We don't currently shorten the Video URL automagically but hope to get to it down the road.



* Do You EDU? Educational Hub Launches: Using YouTube as a vehicle to democratize learning is one of the coolest, unintended outcomes of its existence. YouTube EDU is a volunteer project sparked by a group of employees who wanted to find a better way to collect and highlight all the great educational content being uploaded to YouTube by colleges and universities. We'll feature some of these videos on the home page on Friday and elaborate further in a separate post on that day.



* Mobile Improvements: We're working hard to develop apps and a mobile Web site that enables the best possible video experience on as many devices as possible -- we recognize that mobile is a key component of how people will consume video in the future. So in addition to launching a new mobile landing page, we've cleaned up the upload flow from phone-to-YouTube so this should be a lot more smooth and intuitive now. More on this in a post this weekend.



*Easier to Log In With Google Credentials: If you have your YouTube account associated with your Google account, you no longer have to go to a separate page to log in to YouTube with your Google account information. It's all in one place at sign-in.



* Neater Watch Pages: Yes, sometimes YouTube can feel a bit cluttered, so last night we took some time to "clean up" the presentation on the watch page. Generally, we've heard from you that the action area on this page has been a bit confusing and should be made simpler. So we're streamlining the space beneath the player to better use the available real estate and to present all of the actions more consistently. Some changes you'll notice: a) the action links are a bit smaller and more condensed; b) we've eliminated the tabs for Comments, Statistics & Data and instead made all of these available in expandable sections (which you can collapse/uncollapse using the little arrow), making it easy to expose or hide information in a consistent way. As a side note, we've begun work on a broader watch page redesign to incorporate all the things we've learned since our last major change. Expect to see some ideas and concept sketches on the blog once we're further along.



* A Little Help for Your Friends: The process of connecting with your friends on YouTube will see some bigger improvements soon, but in the meantime, we've added the ability for you to send an invite and personalized note to a username or email address. There's also an instant friend link to instant message if that's your preferred mode of communication -- go to: http://www.youtube.com/my_friends_invite.



* New Names for Sponsored, Promoted and Featured Videos: We've done a bit of spring cleaning with regards to some of the nomenclature on the site. This post from yesterday tells the story.




As always, let us know what you think in the comments below.



Thanks,

The YouTube Team

Posted:
It's spring cleaning at YouTube, so you might notice that today we've renamed a few modules on the home page, watch page, and on the search results page, and we wanted to explain what the changes mean and why we're making them.



Like all spring cleaning exercises, you might ask "Why bother?" Well, in part because we want to help you discover videos on YouTube in lots of different ways, so it's important that you know where they came from and why we think you'll like them. But also, we just think these names make more sense. Here's the rundown:



* Spotlight Videos: We like to highlight videos we think you'll want to watch; videos that hopefully inform, inspire, and entertain. We think "Spotlight Videos" is an appropriate moniker for this section, and soon we are going to take a more thematic approach to showcasing some of the best videos our community and partners produce. When you see these videos, they will have top billing on the page -- a true spotlight.



* Promoted Videos: Our search advertising program is about helping anyone promote their videos to a larger audience on YouTube (right now this is only available in the U.S.). Whether you're a start-up band trying to break out with a new single, or an advertiser showing off how to use your cool new product, this program is a great way for you to promote and drive traffic to your content. We think "Promoted Videos" more accurately describes this program than "Sponsored Videos," the original name.



* Featured Videos: Featured Videos will be primarily populated with videos from YouTube's thousands of partners, but they might also include select user videos that are currently popular or that we have previously showcased in Spotlight Videos. We will automatically rotate these videos throughout the day to keep them fresh.



We'll be making a few other changes to the homepage in the weeks to come; until then, we wanted to share these developments with you.



Best,

Curtis Lee

Product Marketing Manager

The YouTube Team

Posted:
The dunk is one of the most exciting plays in sports — it represents athleticism, elevation, creativity and power combined in one moment. Incredible dunk videos are always popular on YouTube, and in many cases, amateur dunkers have view counts that rival the pros. The YouTube Slam Dunk contest — presented by the new Nissan 370Z — seeks to discover and reward the best amateur dunk artists in the United States.



Three prominent YouTube sports partners will be judging your dunks: NBA All-Star and Olympic gold medalist Chris Bosh, original "Fab Five" member and 13-year NBA pro Jalen Rose and the world's hottest dunk crew: Team Flight Brothers.







Visit the Slam Dunk contest channel and please read the rules and regulations carefully. Then hit the court: shoot, edit and upload your video before April 26.



Our esteemed judges will select the top 20 dunkers to move on to a final round, where the YouTube community will vote on the winner. The leading vote-getter will perform with Team Flight Brothers at an official TFB event, receive gear signed by Chris and Jalen and be crowned "Best Dunker on YouTube."



Now get on up!


Andrew Bangs


YouTube Sports

Posted:
Currently, 1.1 billion people don't have access to clean drinking water -- that's one out of every six people on the planet. Today, to commemorate World Water Day, we're featuring three videos on the home page that highlight the urgency and importance of providing clean water and sanitation to every single global citizen.



This video, from YouTube nonprofit partner charity:water, conveys the urgent need to build wells in the Central African Republic by juxtaposing powerful images with Beck's "Time Bomb":







Like charity:water, GOOD Magazine is also leveraging pop culture to spur citizens to take action. They've created a three-video series, rooted in familiar water-oriented scenes from iconic films and television, to demonstrate that life without clean water can be a very frightening prospect:







And if you're looking for straight facts without the fluff, this brief documentary from the International Red Cross provides specific information about how chronic water and sanitation challenges are affecting Zambia.



You can help solve the global water crisis by contributing to these worthy organizations -- and by sharing their messages with your friends.



Yours,

Ramya Raghavan

YouTube Nonprofits & Activism

Posted:
South by Southwest (SXSW) is an annual music, film and interactive conference and festival in Austin, Texas, and they've just launched a robust YouTube channel that offers a peek into the panels, screenings and music showcases that define the 10-day event.



To celebrate, we're teaming up with these Texans to present highlights from this year's festival on our home page today, including exclusive live music performances filmed just a few days ago at places like the Beauty Bar Backyard and the Mohawk. In these jam-packed clubs, we co-presented several music showcases with the help of indie labels Asthmatic Kitty, K Records, Tomlab, Secretly Canadian, Jagjaguwar and Dead Oceans. Highlights included newcomers Mt. St. Helen's Vietnam Band, Rafter and South Africa's BLK JKS:







For those of you who couldn't make it to Austin this year, we hope YouTube helps you discover a few things that were captured deep in the heart of Texas.



With a Twang,

Michele Flannery

YouTube Music

Posted:
Our goal is to provide you with a great YouTube experience wherever you want to watch videos -- whether it's on your computer, on your television, or on your mobile phone. While YouTube has been available for many mobile phones for over a year, today we're taking a big step forward with a new version of our mobile YouTube application. It's optimized for most Windows Mobile and Symbian Series 60 devices (a list of supported Nokia S60 devices is available here). In addition to providing YouTube on more phones than ever before, it's also much faster -- up to 90% faster starting up, searching, and video loading -- and gives you better video quality that's automatically optimized to your WiFi or 3G network.



To download the app, visit http://m.youtube.com from your device. More cool features and app improvements are on the way, and the app will alert you as updates become available and allow you to upgrade with a single click.









Best,

David Stewart

Product Marketing

The YouTube Team

Posted:
Links to YouTube videos get emailed around all the time. Now, if you use Gmail and turn on YouTube previews from the Gmail Labs tab under Settings, you won't even have to leave your inbox to watch your videos -- instead, they'll show up right inside your messages, like this:









We've also added previews for Picasa, Flickr, and Yelp. Check out the Gmail blog for more info, give these new experimental features a try, and let us know what you think.



Stanley Chen

Engineer

Gmail

Posted:
We're heading into Round 3 of YouTube's Senator of the Week and this week's featured Senator, Chuck Grassley (R-IA), wants you to visit the YouTube Senate Hub and voice your thoughts on an issue that played a big role in the 2008 election: health care reform.



In this video, Senator Grassley shows off his amazing Senate Hub desk (surely the coolest Technicolor innovation since Joseph busted out his Dreamcoat), then hits the hallowed halls of Congress to ask Americans what they think should be changed (or kept the same) about the American health care system. But he also wants to hear from those of you who couldn't make the trek to DC:







Do you think that health care premiums are too high? Have a plan to lower the price of prescription drugs? Or do you like the current health care system and want it to remain the same? Whatever your idea, Senator Grassley is all ears, so sound off at youtube.com/senatehub. And even if you don't have your own three-point plan for health care reform, you can always use Moderator to vote up other citizens' ideas that you like. As always, the top suggestions will be responded to via video next week by the Senator.



Yours,

Ramya Raghavan

YouTube News & Politics

Posted:
YouTube Insight, our video analytics tool, is full of useful information about your video views. You can find out which state or country your views come from, the websites that send you the most traffic, or the parts of your video that keep your viewers' attention. But while views are an important indicator of popularity, they are not the full picture: you know people are watching your video, but do they really like it?



Since the beginning of YouTube, many of you have been looking at the community's feedback to answer this question -- reading comments, looking at ratings, and checking favorites. Today, we hope to make it easier for you to find out who likes your videos (and who doesn't) by launching our newest YouTube Insight feature: a "Community" tab that allows you to see how YouTube users engage with your content over time and depending on their geographic location. You can see total numbers related to ratings, comments, and favorites (or all of them combined), as well as the average number of actions the community takes per view of your video. For example, if it looks like your rating is 3/5 stars, but the average Japanese viewer is giving you 2, while the French tend to give you 5, you'll now know where your real fans are located.



We think this new feature will be useful to many of you, whether you are an advertiser trying to figure out what users think of your new product (not just whether they started to watch the commercial), or a professor curious whether your Plato lecture is starting conversations among users in Greece.



We hope this feature will answer the question du jour: is he (or she) just not that into you?



Tracy Chan and Kenny Stoltz

Product Managers

The YouTube Team

Posted:
Two weeks ago, we launched a program called Adopt a Feature, in which we asked you to give certain features some TLC by making videos explaining how they work. Just over two dozen of you took us up on it, with the majority choosing to talk about AudioSwap and Insight. We're collecting these clips on the adoptafeature channel, and as you can see they're a mixture of straightforward instruction and comedy -- there's even some bile, a fake corpse, more than a few bleeps, and a bit of innuendo... In other words, you are indeed taking these features and making them your own, which is exactly what we were hoping for. Here are some highlights so far:



* SteveDutzy lets you in on a fun (if perverse) game he plays with Insight

* BelgianDann employs annotations (and the undead!) to promote AudioSwap

* Petercoffin broadcasts from space to explain how Insight can contribute to inspiration, monetization and, um, you'll see

* Thecomputernerd01 stops talking about batteries, GameBoy, his mom's shades, his new knit hat, and an ace of hearts card long enough to explain how the country/language pulldown menus work

* The dapper Bobby SoFamous shows how AudioSwap can mask a foul mouth (and, of course, make you a better YouTube participant)

* BeanerLaRue's mother, Lola, makes her third cameo to impress the kids with her knowledge of AudioSwap



While these videos continue to percolate, and as new ones are added, we'll continue to watch how usage of these features evolves with your adoptafeature uploads and we'll report back on any significant shifts. So take a look at what's been created so far and consider this an open call to produce something even better, particularly for some of the features that didn't get as much love this round: Country and Language Options, Playlists, QuickCapture, and Subscriptions. (If you feel compelled to make a video about a feature not on the list, go for it -- just include "adoptafeature" in the tags. We might use it in a future installment.)



Anyway, get those cameras rolling. We want to have a lot more to talk about in two weeks time, on March 31, the next adoptafeature update.



Best,

Hunter Walk

Director, Product Management

The YouTube Team

Posted:
The NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament starts this week, with a play-in game tonight and a full slate of first round games starting Thursday. If, like fans around the country, you're filling out a bracket and making your picks for the Sweet 16, the Elite Eight, the Final Four and the National Champion, who better to take tips from than some of the premier coaches in the game? On the Life Lock March Madness channel, you can get expert opinion on all 64 teams in the field.



For example, coach Rick Pitino of the #1 overall seed Louisville Cardinal, has some insight on the Villanova Wildcats, and here Memphis Tigers coach John Calipari gives his upset picks (not involving his own team, of course):







Also, our news partners have original analysis, including the Associated Press, the Los Angeles Times and The New York Times. The Onion is going out on a limb, predicting that the Xenon International School of Hair Design will beat the Online University of Liverpool in the 637-678 matchup.



Last but certainly not least, plenty of YouTube sports fans have opinions, too. For fan-level perspective, the Sly Fox himself Kige Ramsey will be making his picks and predictions.



Good luck!


Andrew Bangs


YouTube Sports

Posted:
YouTube users have posted videos from around the world. Now global adventurer Oliver (Olly) Hicks is checking in from the high seas.



Since January, Hicks has been attempting the first solo row around the globe, by circumnavigating Antarctica. He's sharing his two year voyage, the
Virgin Global Row
, with adventure-lovers around the world thanks to the cutting-edge technology crammed into his 24-foot-long craft, the Flying Carrot. On YouTube, you can
subscribe to his channel
and see video blogs posted as he travels into some of the world's most hostile marine environments. On his website, you can show your support by joining his site and track his progress with Google Earth.



At YouTube, we've been privileged to experience the personal stories of people from all walks of life, in countless situations. We want to wish Olly all the best in his venture, especially as he demonstrates the ability of video to connect people, even at the farthest reaches of the world.







Best,

Mark Day

YouTube People & Blogs

Posted:
In March 2008, we
announced
a first-of-its-kind contest: the Vancouver Film School / YouTube Scholarship Competition. The challenge was to create a short video based on the theme "What matters most to me." As their prize, the winners, Jorge Rolando Caneda Estrada, Stefan Ramirez Perez and Christopher Harrell received three full-tuition scholarships to the VFS program of their choice.



Now, a year later, it's exciting to see the results of their study. The three videos below reflect some of their latest work: Estrada's released a highly stylized take on the artist's hunt for ideas; Perez has seamlessly mixed music, live action and animation, and Harrell's put his stamp on a series of in-your-face DVD openers.















Nate Weinstein

YouTube Film

Posted:
Video view counts reflect the YouTube community's interests and the grassroots popularity of videos. We periodically make changes that allow us to display consistent view counts and accurately reflect a "real" view based on video consumption, video streaming and spam filtering. Unfortunately, a few people still try to artificially manipulate their video's view counts. Some people game third-party view counts as well. That can make things unfair for everyone.



Recently, we found spamming issues associated with the view counts on a small number of videos. The inflated view count number on these videos will be frozen until actual views catch up to the published, artificial, view count. Also, a few people have commented that their view counts are updating more slowly. Occasionally the speed with which views update changes -- sometimes it’s faster and sometimes it’s slower. But we are always working to make sure that the final view count numbers are an accurate reflection of the community's interest.



Michelle Schlachta

Community Manager

The YouTube Team

Posted:
Last Tuesday, Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) launched Round 2 of YouTube Senator/Representative of the Week by asking you to offer your thoughts on two important issues facing Congress right now: how to eliminate wasteful spending and whether 401k plans should be nationalized.



On the Senate Hub, you put forth 77 insightful suggestions in response to McCaskill's question about how the United States could cut back on wasteful spending. Bill from Ozark, Missouri, suggested that the government "stop the 'cost-plus' arrangement that allows a contractor to name its own price for services rendered," while pbg22 advised,"Don't limit your search to the traditional military and R&D projects. I work in transportation and contract waste is everywhere." Here Senator McCaskill responds to the ideas you voted to the top of the pile:








Over on the House Hub, respondents overwhelmingly agreed that 401k plans should not be nationalized -- Trevor from Akron, Ohio, was so horrified at the idea of nationalization that "upon viewing this video, the Pepsi I was drinking came shooting out my nose and I began to cough." Meanwhile, Gary from Texas offered this rationale for why he didn't support nationalization: "Nationalizing 401k [plans] de-emphasizes the basic premise of our work ethic. It provides an avenue for 'Big Government' to impose additional administrative fees [tax] for earmark spending." For Representative McMorris Rodgers' response, watch this video:







If you have thoughts about either of these issues, but didn't submit them the House Hub or Senate Hub on time, you can still join the conversation by posting a video response or adding a comment to either McCaskill's or McMorris Rodgers' response video.



Yours,

Ramya Raghavan

YouTube News & Politics

Posted:
From time to time, we’ll let you know about some of the new partners who’ve launched channels on YouTube. Additions in the last month include:



South by Southwest (SXSW), one of the premier music and film festivals in the country (the festival is later this month, so stay tuned to YouTube for content from Austin)



The Backstreet Boys, who've uploaded over 20 videos in their first month alone, including plenty of behind-the-scenes tour footage



Hollywood.com, which offers up-to-the-minute celebrity and entertainment news



epicfu, chictv, and TrendhunterTV, all of whom report on the latest trends in pop culture



geekentertainmenttv, iTouchiPodz, and TylersComputerShow for tech news -- the latter of these is a weekly show hosted by Tyler Plack, who's not even old enough to drive but is nonetheless extremely opinionated when it comes to the Mac vs. PC debate



• Australian comedienne Miss Cupcake and her fiveandahalfgirls channel, a faux vlog in which she plays, well, five and a half different personalities



TotalGermanShepherd: 100+ videos of German shepherds playing in the great outdoors



Check ’em out and let us know in the comments below which of these strike your fancy.



Enjoy,

David McMillan

YouTube Entertainment

Posted:
We have invested a lot of time and effort trying to ensure that our community can find and enjoy the music they love, and we have strong partnerships with three of the four largest record labels in the world, as well as many independent labels. But copyrights in music can get pretty complicated. For example, there may be several different copyrights in a single music video, controlled by different organizations with different interests. The visual elements and the sound recording of a music video are typically owned by a record label, while the music and lyrics of the song being performed are owned separately by one or more music publishers. These publishers often designate organizations called collecting societies to issue licenses and collect royalties on their behalf. In the UK we've had a license from the collecting society called PRS for Music to make music videos provided by our record label partners available to our users in the UK.



Our previous license from PRS for Music has expired, and we've been unable so far to come to an agreement to renew it on terms that are economically sustainable for us. There are two obstacles in these negotiations: prohibitive licensing fees and lack of transparency. We value the creativity of musicians and songwriters and have worked hard with rights-holders to generate significant online revenue for them and to respect copyright. But PRS is now asking us to pay many, many times more for our license than before. The costs are simply prohibitive for us -- under PRS's proposed terms we would lose significant amounts of money with every playback. In addition, PRS is unwilling to tell us what songs are included in the license they can provide so that we can identify those works on YouTube -- that's like asking a consumer to buy an unmarked CD without knowing what musicians are on it.



We're still working with PRS for Music in an effort to reach mutually acceptable terms for a new license, but until we do so we will be blocking premium music videos in the UK that have been supplied or claimed by record labels. This was a painful decision, and we know the significant disappointment it will cause within the UK. And to be clear, this is not an issue with the record labels, with most of whom we have strong relationships.



While negotiations continue, we'll still be working to create more ways to compensate musicians and other rights-holders on YouTube. In addition to various advertising options, we recently introduced a click-to-buy feature that enables fans to purchase downloads of their favorite songs. We're also proud of our Content ID tools that help rights owners identify their content and even use the power of our community to increase advertising and revenue potential.



We will continue to seek partnerships that benefit our community, music publishers, music labels and, of course, musicians and songwriters, and we will work hard with anybody who shares this commitment. We hope that professional music videos will soon be back on YouTube for our users in the UK to enjoy, and if and when that time comes, you can be sure that you'll be the first to know.


Yours,

Patrick Walker

Director of Video Partnerships, Europe, Middle East and Africa

Posted:
Raise your hand if you've watched a YouTube video. Cool, the "play" button definitely works but that's just the start of where the YouTube experience can begin. Every week we release new tools, or enhancements to current ones, to help you make better videos, connect with one another, and understand your audience. We tell you about them in this blog, but now we want to take it up a notch and ask you to (puppy-dog eyes) adopt a feature.



It's not to say that the features on the list below are unloved or unlovable; it's just that we believe that many of you could help spread the word more broadly about their usefulness -- and, more important, in a way that's fun to watch.



So here's how it would work:



1. Select one or more features from the list below.



2. Make a video about that feature (of course, it must adhere to our Terms of Service) and be sure to use the precise tags we've indicated for each feature.



3. We'll start tracking how your videos are impacting that feature's performance and offer a play-by-play in this blog, notating which users are making the greatest impact with their videos. Our first update will be on March 17, so get cracking!



4. The most successful video(s) will be featured on our home page and live for all eternity in our Help Center, and you will get the satisfaction of knowing that you helped the feature live a long and productive life.



And with that, here are some features that could use your loving touch:



* AudioSwap (use tags: audioswap, adoptafeature)

* Country and Language Options (use tags: countrypulldown, adoptafeature)

* Insight (use tags: insight, adoptafeature)

* Playlists (use tags: playlists, adoptafeature)

* Quick Capture (use tags: quickcapture, adoptafeature)

* Subscriptions (use tags: subscriptions, adoptafeature)





If you're looking for inspiration, watch this video that LisaNova created about subscriptions and why she can't live without them:








Think you can do better? Let's see! And if you have a favorite YouTube feature that we haven't included on this list, let us know in the comments.



Best,

Hunter Walk

Director, Product Management

The YouTube Team

Posted:
Today we’re launching a new blog series that will let you know about some recent additions to the YouTube Nonprofit Program – these are partners who are already making a difference in the YouTube community and beyond.



The Monterey Bay Aquarium only became a nonprofit partner in February, but they're already making big waves on YouTube. This video, which uses undersea cameras to study the macropinna microstoma, a deep-sea fish with a transparent head and tubular eyes, has received close to 1.4 million views in the past week:







We’re also pleased to welcome Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund (LCCREF) to the site. To support their mission of promoting “an understanding of the need for national policies that support civil rights and social and economic justice,” they’ve posted a series of video interviews with civil rights leaders about the importance of Brown v. Board, as well as a group of how-to videos about the digital television transition, geared towards elderly people of color.



YouTube has become a place for smaller, local organizations to connect with members of their community, fundraise, and spread their work to a wider audience. New nonprofit partner Riverkeeper is a good example of this: they use video to inform New Yorkers about the importance of keeping the Hudson River clean.



These organizations, and thousands of others, are posting new videos every day about issues that matter -- view the full roster here and show them some love!



Yours,

Ramya Raghavan

YouTube Nonprofits & Activism

Posted:
We're excited to launch Round 2 of "Senator of the Week" on YouTube's Senate Hub today, giving you another opportunity to use Google Moderator to offer Members of Congress your thoughts on the most important issues facing America right now.



This week's featured Senator is Claire McCaskill (D-MO), who is the new chairman of a subcommittee on contracting oversight. McCaskill wants to hear how you think Congress can eliminate wasteful spending:








In addition, we're kicking off the first installment of "Representative of the Week" with Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA). If you head over to the YouTube House Hub now, you can weigh in on the debate about whether Congress should nationalize 401k plans:







Congress is waiting to hear your thoughts on these issues, which are being hotly debated on the Hill right now, so head over to youtube.com/senatehub and youtube.com/househub and make your voice heard.




Yours,

Ramya Raghavan

YouTube News & Politics

Posted:
Raise your hand if you've watched a YouTube video. Cool, the "play" button definitely works but that's just the start of where the YouTube experience can begin. Every week we release new tools, or enhancements to current ones, to help you make better videos, connect with one another, and understand your audience. We tell you about them in this blog, but now we want to take it up a notch and ask you to (puppy-dog eyes) adopt a feature.



It's not to say that the features on the list below are unloved or unlovable; it's just that we believe that many of you could help spread the word more broadly about their usefulness -- and, more important, in a way that's fun to watch.



So here's how it would work:



1. Select one or more features from the list below.



2. Make a video about that feature (of course, it must adhere to our Terms of Service) and be sure to use the precise tags we've indicated for each feature.



3. We'll start tracking how your videos are impacting that feature's performance and offer a play-by-play in this blog, notating which users are making the greatest impact with their videos. Our first update will be two weeks from today, March 17, so get cracking!



4. The most successful video(s) will be featured on our home page and live for all eternity in our Help Center, and you will get the satisfaction of knowing that you helped the feature live a long and productive life.



And with that, here are some features that could use your loving touch:



* AudioSwap (use tags: audioswap, adoptafeature)

* Country and Language Options (use tags: countrypulldown, adoptafeature)

* Insight (use tags: insight, adoptafeature)

* Playlists (use tags: playlists, adoptafeature)

* Quick Capture (use tags: quickcapture, adoptafeature)

* Subscriptions (use tags: subscriptions, adoptafeature)





If you're looking for inspiration, watch this video that LisaNova created about subscriptions and why she can't live without them:








Think you can do better? Let's see! And if you have a favorite YouTube feature that we haven't included on this list, let us know in the comments.



Best,

Hunter Walk

Director, Product Management

The YouTube Team

Posted:
Today we are proud to announce the winners of the world's first online collaborative orchestra. The global YouTube community and a judging panel containing members of the world's most renowned orchestras have selected over 90 talented musicians to be part of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra. Together, these professional and amateur musicians play 26 different instruments and come from 30+ countries and territories on six continents.



To grasp the level of talent we’re talking about, just take a look at the stellar string section:







The selected musicians will travel from around the world to New York City to participate in a collaborative summit for classical music on April 12-15, 2009, concluding with a concert at Carnegie Hall under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas, San Francisco Symphony Music Director, New World Symphony Founder and Artistic Director, and London Symphony Orchestra Principal Guest Conductor.



All the winning audition videos are on the YouTube Symphony Orchestra Channel here; please share your congratulations with these musicians in the comments section, and don’t forget to stay tuned as we follow them on the road to Carnegie Hall. (If you’d like to cheer them on in person, tickets are on sale now at www.carnegiehall.org.)



Cue the congratulatory strings,

Michele Flannery

YouTube Music

Posted:
The 17th annual Noise Pop music festival, a celebration of independent music, film and art, is currently rumbling through San Francisco. Highlights so far? A show-stopping opening night performance from Antony & the Johnsons, a solo gig from ex-Pavement frontman Stephen Malkmus, and New Zealand's indie rock upstarts, Cut Off Your Hands.







If you don't have a laminated pass to the Bay Area event, YouTube has teamed up with Noise Pop and Wolfgang's Vault to give you a virtual one: we've got full-length performances from Deerhunter, Syracuse, NY, indie act Ra Ra Riot as well as footage from a 2008 show with Port O'Brien. Now we love live music, but this certainly beats the crowds and being stuck behind the tall dude in the front row.



Enjoy,

Michele Flannery

YouTube Music