As rival platforms make a foreboding play for the $13.8 billion online video ad industry, YouTube is ramping up investment in its own creator ecosphere like never before.
Case in point: after rolling out on Tuesday its latest television, print and outdoor marketing campaign spotlighting beloved creators Tyler Oakley and Lilly Singh, the Google-owned platform has just divulged the details of its first feature film.
Entitled Dance Camp, the film will weave “an amazing story of unlikely friendships, unleashing passions and discovering yourself all through the power of dance,” the company said in a statement. Premiering exclusively on YouTube later this fall before rolling out elsewhere, Dance Camp was created in collaboration with AwesomenessTV, a digital media company owned by DreamWorks Animation and the Hearst Corporation.
Last April, in a bid to create more top-tier original content on YouTube, the company, alongside AwesomenessTV, announced that it will “release several feature length films over the next two years, all driven by YouTube stars…setting what we believe will become a new distribution paradigm for years to come.” Dance Camp features YouTuber Meg DeAngelis, though its male lead is Jake Paul, a heartthrobby Viner.
Old media luminaries involved with the project include producer John Chu (who directed the Justin Bieber documentary Never Say Never) and choreographer Fatima Robin (who worked on Dreamgirls and Save the Last Dance.)
Unsurprisingly, YouTube’s first feature outing is aimed squarely at its ravenous tween fanbase. There are also more than 24 million dance-related videos on YouTube, making it one of the platform’s most popular genres, according to Kelly Merryman, YouTube’s vice president of content partnerships.
AwesomenessTV has already released several feature films starring digital influencers proving the viability of these ventures. Most recently, Smosh: The Movie, starring the popular YouTube comedy duo, rocketed to the top the iTunes comedy charts upon its debut.