YouTube's 'Next Comic' Program Supports Funny Web Content

YouTube is already established as a way for performers of all types to showcase their work and potentially reach millions of viewers worldwide, and now the online video platform wants to help content creators improve their channels and learn the skills they need for long-term success on the web.

As part of its "Next Creator" initiative, YouTube has launched a new program focused on its comedy channels called "YouTube Next Comic." "Next Comic" provides promotion, training, and mentoring support to selected comedians so they can better use the medium of web videos to their advantage.

"The YouTube Next Comic program is designed to help motivated YouTube creators better develop their channels and content, build even larger audiences, and hone technical skills that will lead to long-term and sustained success on the platform," YouTube's Austin Lau wrote in his announcement of the program. "Whether your forté is sketch comedy, stand-up, parodies, pranking, awkward moments and epic fails, pet-inspired shenanigans, humorous vlogging and commentary, or any other indefinable laugh-generating genre, we want YOU!"

Sixteen comics will be chosen to attend six biweekly webcam workshops, or "Hangouts," over a 12-week period from August through October 2012. A new video assignment must be completed for each Hangout. Each participant will also receive $10,000 worth of Google advertising for their channel, as well as $5,000 of video production equipment.

YouTube creators from the U.S., U.K., Australia, Canada, India, Ireland, New Zealand, and South Africa are eligible. Users must have monetization enabled on their YouTube channels for at least 75 percent of their video library, and must have at least 5,000 subscribers and/or at least one million total views.

Applications are due no later than Friday, July 13. The 16 "Next Comics" will be introduced online on or after Monday, July 30.

Daniel Lehman is a staff writer at Back Stage. Follow him on Twitter: @byDanLehman