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YouTube's 100 Million Dollar Gamble by Hannah Gregg

This was created by Justin Lin, the director of Fast Five, and Anthony Zuiker, director of CSI, as a teaser for their new show: Internet Icon. Internet Icon is part of a brand new series based off of popular Asian-American blog: You Offend Me You Offend My Family ( YOMYOMF).

This headline could be a typical Hollywood production announcement, except for one thing. This show's episodes will never air on mainstream TV. The show will be entirely and exclusively released through YouTube.

In January of 2012, Google, the owner of YouTube, approved an investment of $100 million dollars to put towards the creation of content exclusively for new YouTube channels.

Everything about new show Internet Icon is both ironic and indicative of YouTube. It's based on a amateur blog. Yet, its is produced by Lin and Zuiker, who are professional, A-list, Hollywood directors. It highlights the everyday person who wants to share their honest point of view, no matter who it offends. Yet, it is completely scripted by hand picked actors. It acts as the amateur idealist, garnering followers for community and solidarity. Yet, it is an investment by Google for the sole purpose of making revenue by collecting followers and spamming them with advertising.

Google's 100 million dollar investment both blurs the lines within YouTube between the amateur and the professional and further separates these two creators. As Google starts funding amateurs who have lots of followers, these amateurs become the professionals. As Google brings Hollywood production further into the YouTube space, they crowd out the amateurs. As young amateurs see the potential for money-making through YouTube, they will flock to content creating. As YouTube becomes more professionally produced, fans of the old user-generated space may leave, they may strike back in full force, and they may become apathetic. Their investment is a gamble, but if you are Google, the odds are most likely ever in your favor.