YouTube to shutter its Toronto creator space – CBC.ca

YouTube to shutter its Toronto creator space - CBC.ca
YouTube shuttering its only permanent Canadian studio
YouTube says it'll close the company's only permanent Canadian studio later this year as it shifts strategies for how it reaches its creators.

The media giant sent an email on Thursday to its online creator community outlining plans to replace its Toronto studio with a "pop-up" approach that'll roll out temporary studios in different regions of the country.

Google announced the opening of the YouTube creator space back in 2016, saying it would give “creators the ability connect with fellow YouTubers in a collaborative setting and use the latest film equipment to create more ambitious and innovative video content.

It says the move will help YouTube's production assets reach Canadians in cities where they wouldn't otherwise have the resources.

The 3,500-square-foot studio allowed local YouTube creators to use the studio to collaborate with other creators and shoot videos. YouTube also used the studio to facilitate workshops and other related events.

"We are moving from a fixed model based out of YouTube Space Toronto into a community-based model where we'll meet creators where they live. This will include a mix of workshops, events and pop-up spaces, allowing us to better connect with the unique communities of creators from coast to coast," Mark Swierszcz, manager of YouTube Toronto studio, said in a statement.

This news comes after a recent report from Ryersons Faculty of Communication and Design found that 70 percent of Canadian YouTube users say that platform is their go-to place for learning.

"Given the size of the country and the fact that our creators are not all based in one city, we hope this new approach will help us to better connect with the unique communities of creators in every region."

According to a spokesperson, YouTube has staged two pop-ups in Montreal that got a positive response from local creators.

The media giant has said it will replace the studio with a pop-up strategy that will have locations temporarily appear in different parts of the country.

YouTube Space Toronto opened at George Brown College in spring of 2016 amid a boom in the growth of the creator community.

The platform says these changes will help its production assets be available to Canadian YouTubers who wouldnt have access to the resources otherwise.

It quickly became a hot spot for Toronto creators to mingle and tap into resources they might not otherwise have, such as equipment, workshops and space to hold launch parties.

YouTube has said it is closing the platforms only permanent Canadian creator space this year, saying that it is updating its strategies.

Canadian musicians also dropped in for live performances, including country singer Jess Moskaluke, rapper Shad and rock performer Matt Good. They all recorded live concerts in the studio for their YouTube channels.

A recent study by Ryerson University found there are about 160,000 YouTube creators in Canada, but the company's record for supporting Canadian content has been spotty.

Less than two years ago, YouTube proudly launched "Spotlight Canada," a curated page that promised to promote homegrown talent by highlighting standout videos. But the page quickly slipped into neglect and hasn't been updated in nearly six months.

The YouTube Space closure comes as the streaming giant moves away from occupying properties that aren't owned and operated by its Google parent.

The company also plans to close another YouTube Space in Mumbai, India, that operates on the grounds of a school, though locations in other cities, including New York, London, Paris and Los Angeles will stay open.

Mark Swierszcz, manager of the Toronto space, said in the statement that YouTube is looking into options for a different kind of permanent Toronto facility for local creators and "will have more to share very soon about a future home."

A view from within the YouTube Space in Toronto on April 26, 2016. (Christopher Katsarov / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

TORONTO — Video creators are calling on YouTube to make stronger commitments to Canadian productions after the company announced itll close its only permanent studio in the country.

The Google-owned technology firm sent an email to its creator community on Thursday outlining plans to replace its Toronto studio with "pop-up" locations in different regions across Canada. The goal is to stake a temporary presence in cities that otherwise wouldnt have access to the streaming giants equipment and experts, the company said.

YouTube has tested the "pop-up" concept before in Canada by opening shop twice in Montreal for roughly a week each time.

But Dan Speerin, a writer and early adopter who started making YouTube videos in 2006, said by closing space in Canadas largest city, the Silicon Valley company is playing into "the old Canadian problem" that lessens the overall emphasis on homegrown productions.

"Pop-ups are great PR," he said of the plans for temporary studios. "They might be able to offer a quick hit of education or fun, but they cant foster a healthy culture."

Its the exact opposite strategy YouTube emphasized when it opened the doors of YouTube Space Toronto at George Brown College three years ago amid a boom in the growth of the creator community.

Mark Swierszcz, manager of the Toronto space, said in a statement YouTube is looking into options for a different kind of permanent Toronto facility for local creators and "will have more to share very soon about a future home." The company declined to provide any further details on those plans or when they would take shape.

The Toronto closure comes as YouTube moves away from occupying properties that arent owned and operated by its Google parent. Another location in Mumbai, India, that operates on the grounds of a school will close, though studios in other cities, including New York, London, Paris and Los Angeles, will stay open.

Megan MacKay, a Toronto-based YouTuber who utilized the Canadian resources, said she felt the studio was "a really good place for YouTube to cultivate raw talent and give people the opportunity to learn something new."

Musicians dropped in for live performances, including country singer Jess Moskaluke, rapper Shad and rocker Matt Good who recorded live concerts for their YouTube channels, while popular YouTube personalities such as Lilly Singh swung by to attract crowds.

In many ways, the Toronto studio was a "club house" that gave smaller channels the sheen of "a professional level" production, said Steve Saylor, whose channel Blind Gamer showcases video games from a blind mans perspective.

He was invited into the YouTube studio in 2017 to shoot a reaction video where he slipped on a virtual reality headset and played "Star Wars: Trials On Tatooine."

"We basically live in a bubble a lot of the time. We create videos in our own home," he said.

"The YouTube Space brought that community together. To see that now kind of disappearing, to me, I see that our community is going to start to disappear."

A recent study by Ryerson University found there are about 160,000 YouTube creators across the country, but the companys record for supporting Canadian content has been spotty.

Less than two years ago, YouTube proudly launched "Spotlight Canada," a curated page that promised to promote homegrown talent by highlighting standout videos. The page quickly slipped into neglect and hasnt been updated in nearly six months.

YouTubes plan to adopt a travelling cavalry approach with "pop-up" locations may have mentorship benefits for communities outside Toronto, but Speerin suggested its "pitting Toronto against everyone" else in Canada.