In the first round, YouTube cast a wide net, giving money to a variety of projects. A year later, it's apparent which sank and which were able to swim. A celebrity name wasn't enough to buoy a project into a hit, although this was a main strategy in terms of channel creation (Ashton Kutchter, Amy Poehler, Rainn Wilson, Jay-Z and a slew of others were all initially recruited). Meanwhile, the channels that prioritized amassing a large viewership came out ahead, with YouTube's top 25 ranking new channels averaging more than a million hits a week, and tallying more than 100K subscribers (i.e., repeat viewers).
Warner Music's Sound Channel and the lifestyle Reserve Channel (which features chef Eric Rippert) have done well. A more extensive list of successful channels is here.
Another success story is John Avnet and Rodrigo Garcia's WIGS, a channel targeted at women aged 25-48, with a Geico advertising partnership. Indeed, bringing advertisers into the fold has been part of YouTube's plan from the beginning, with Dodge, Gillette and Toyota also placing ads on various channels. Serialized, TV-like shows are attractive to advertisers, but their real value is hard to quantify.
Indiewire benefitted from the first round of YouTube funding, with a partnership with the Cinefix channel, backed by Berman Braun. Check out the official Indiewire/Cinefix YouTube page here.