U.S. cellular service provider AT&T has launched a new year-long project that aims to help online influencers develop their audience and monetization opportunties, from networking and content initiatives to live appearances, and more.
The AT&T Hello Lab, conceived in collaboration with the Fullscreen MCN, has signed a number of high-profile YouTubers from Fullscreen’s network to the program, among them comedian Grace Helbig (2.8 million subscribers), travel vloggers Damon and Jo (211,000 subscribers), musicians Us the Duo (1.3 million subscribers), magician and former America’s Got Talent contestant Collins Key (790,000 subscribers).
The influencers will create cross-platform branded programming across their own channels. Projects are scheduled to be released throughout 2016, though no set dates have yet been announced.
Helbig, pictured, said in a statement that the program will find ways “to let us (YouTubers) explore those creative ideas.”
The Dallas-based telco is also looking to promote its own brand through the initiative, providing participating influencers with access to the AT&T network in order to use their phones as “mobile production studios.”
In addition, the Hello Lab will be supported by a 360-degree marketing campaign co-created by the influencer partners.
George Strompolos, CEO and founder of Fullscreen, said in a statement that the Hello Lab is taking a more “long-term and collaborative approach” to branded partnerships by allowing the creators more control over content and how those branded messages are delivered.
“Today’s generation of digital-first creators form extremely powerful connections to their legions of fans,” Stompolos said. “Marketers need to respect that… in order to make an impact with their brand message.”
The first piece of programming from the Hello Lab launched Feb. 11 with Damon and Jo’s new travel series on YouTube, Dare to Travel. The series will feature the duo travelling the globe and collaborating with the audience, letting fans determine their next travel challenge. The story will be told in weekly episodes on YouTube, with additional content on Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram.
This is not the first time Fullscreen and AT&T have joined forces. In 2012, the two companies partnered on an unscripted, YouTube-based reality series, Summer Break, currently in its third season. The show has attracted more than 150 million views to date.