Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Reddit, Brought to You by YouTube

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Reddit’s rollout from niche site to Internet-swallowing Mega Meme-Maker continues. This time with help from YouTube, which is paying the Conde Nast spinoff to make “Explain Like I’m Five,” a video miniseries based on one of the site’s “subreddits.”

What’s particularly interesting here is that this doesn’t appear to be one of the YouTube “funded channel” projects the site has been promoting for the past year and change.

Instead, says Reddit general manager Erik Martin, Google’s video site has given them money for these specific clips, “and may fund others in the future … [but] anything down the road will be case by case.”

That’s different from the route YouTube has taken when it wants to encourage content makers to create stuff for the site. In the past, it advanced video makers millions of dollars, then more or less set them free to make what they wanted. (Though the economics are somewhat similar this time: YouTube funds the entire cost of production, pays itself back via ad sales, and once/if the videos recoup, will share revenue with Reddit.)

Since that approach has had a mixed record, this more focused effort makes sense, at least as an experiment.

Plus, this stuff is funny:

Of course, little kids and big ideas can often be funny. Could have sworn I’ve seen this one mined multiple times on “The Daily Show.” But here’s the only version of it I could find with a cursory search:

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald