YouTube is offering bonuses to its top stars to keep them out of the clutches of rival online video services.
Facebook and video startup Vessel, among others, have tried to poach video makers from the Google Inc. unit in recent months, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Google is offering some of the top creators bonuses to sign multiyear deals in which they agree to post content exclusively on YouTube first before putting it on a rival service.
Vessel, which plans a subscription video service, has been particularly aggressive courting YouTube stars in recent weeks, the newspaper said, citing people familiar with the discussions.
One YouTube content creator who has been approached said: “I would like to remain on YouTube. But some of the competing offers are incredibly attractive.”
Three people who have been approached by Vessel say the company wants artists to post videos exclusively on its service for up to three days.
The competition is forcing Google to rethink YouTube’s traditional positioning as a platform where video creators can upload what they like. They still do, but YouTube must now invest to keep top stars on the site.
Popular video makers like makeup guru Michelle Phan are important for YouTube, because their “channels” draw viewers back to the site regularly.
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