It was the hangar which incubated Howard Hughes’s aviation dreams, each aircraft model more fanciful than the last, and half a century later it is the launchpad for another striking ambition: a new generation of slicker, better YouTube videos.
The video-sharing website has converted the 3800 sq-metre Los Angeles complex into a state-of-the-art digital production hub to catapult selected creators into another league of quality video making.
“I think it’s a turning point for people to be able to make real shows on YouTube,” said Felicia Day, producer and co-creator of the Geek & Sundry YouTube channel, who has become one of the first to use the complex.“I think the next Spielberg or Hitchcock will be discovered somewhere like this. It’s an amazing platform.”
The complex YouTube calls Space is tucked on a quiet street between Los Angeles international airport and a wildlife reserve. A small red helicopter, a Hughes 269A, marks the entrance, an homage to the site’s previous owner. When it formally opens next month it will give free access to dozens of selected creators each quarter, with YouTube, owned by Google, picking up the reported $25m annual tab.
YouTube receives around 4 billion hits per month, a staggering amount, but viral hits such as kittens climbing walls draw viewers for a few seconds, which is not much time for advertising, and is not a sustainable, long-term commercial model.
The company hopes better production values and storytelling skills will hook viewers longer, underlining Silicon Valley’s bold push into the entertainment indu-stry. Google opened similar but smaller “Spaces” in New York and London earlier this year. One in Asia is due next year. The Guardian