YouTube adds liaison to help it communicate with creators

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Susan Wojcicki, chief executive officer of YouTube.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

YouTube has hired a liaison to act as an in-between for the people who make content for the platform.

Matt Kovalakides has been promoted as the company’s new “head creator liaison” role at the company. Kovalakides first joined the company in 2012 as a content strategist after he was a YouTube creator himself. A former filmmaker, he created short, scripted comedies under his YouTube name “Matt Koval,” which garnered more than 100,000 subscribers.

In the new role, Kovalakikes will advocate for creators internally while defending the company to creators by explaining the platforms “complexities” and “scale,” according to YouTube. He’ll engage publicly through social media, blog posts, videos and in-person at creator events, the company said, adding it’s heard creators like to get their information about YouTube from different mediums.

“[The] Goal is to help creators understand YouTube, and vice versa,” Kovalakikes tweeted Monday. “Complicated stuff on both sides.”

The new role comes as Google-owned YouTube has endured several conflicts with creators this year, with some complaining about harassment and hate speech, and others arguing that the platform’s rules about removing advertisements — a process called “demonetization” — are random and poorly explained. Some content creators, who count on ads as their main source of revenue, were enraged in September after some received emails suggesting they would lose their verification status on YouTube.

“Spent years as a @YouTube creator, and then years as a YouTube employee,” Kovalakides tweeted. “There are challenges on both sides that each often don’t understand. My new job is to try and improve that understanding.”

Last year YouTube hired a number of strategic partnership managers to act as liaisons to political publications. YouTube declined to answer questions about Kovalakikes’ reporting structure, only saying that he is a part of YouTube’s editorial team.

The role is similar to Danny Sullivan’s role for Google’s search team. Sullivan was a leading journalist covering the search industry for many years, and joined Google as its Search Liaison in 2017 to help the company handle relationships with outsiders who have questions about how Google ranks search results.

YouTube broke out ad revenue numbers for the first time in its fourth quarter earlier this month. YouTube ads generated $15.15 billion in revenue in fiscal 2019, with $4.72 billion generated in the fourth quarter alone.

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