YouTube Handing Out $500,000 to Users (and Maybe $50 Million for Bed Intruders)

mystery guitar YouTube Handing Out $500,000 to Users (and Maybe $50 Million for Bed Intruders)Who says amateur video doesn’t pay?

YouTube is handing out $1,000 vouchers for video equipment to 5,000 lucky YouTube stars as it mulls buying New York’s mememaking video production group Next New Networks. Peter Kafka at Media Memo has sources who tell him NNN–from whence came the Bed Intruder song, the top YouTube hit of the year–is worth $50 million or more.

People watched 700 billion videos on YouTube this year, which might make you think we couldn’t possibly have time for more. But with video growing in popularity, especially among mobile users and the arrival of fourth generation wireless networks, YouTube is thinking better, less shaky, more high definition video content production will be its new niche.

YouTube is no longer just about you. Viral videos are going pro with outfits like NNN and College Humor employing writers and producing video content that approaches the quality of what’s on TV.

But YouTube has also been working with amateur producers through its Partners Program, which helps top video-makers like makeup coach Michelle Phan and musician Mystery Guitar Man (his proposal video is below), monetize their videos.

“It’s clear that we want to see YouTube partners continue to create great video and further push the boundaries of what’s possible online,” YouTube said in a blog post.

In other words, equipping its users with better video tech is more than just a PR move.

ajeffries [at] observer.com | @adrjeffries