Google invests $100m in YouTube’
Google, the parent company of YouTube, is set to spend $100m on creating original programming for the video service, according to a report.
The technology giant is planning to populate the site with its own low-budget original programmes, made specifically for the web, say The Wall Street Journal's sources.
Last year YouTube’s co-founder Chad Hurley said he wanted the site to compete directly with broadcast television for share of audience viewing time, by enticing viewers with high quality programming from the likes of Channel 4 and Channel Five in the UK.
However, YouTube has failed to sign up the other major UK broadcasters’ content, most crucially ITV, and is still heavily associated with user-generated content; an identity which prevents the site consistently attracting the same high quality advertising as broadcast television.
The Wall Street Journal’s sources said the site is planning to spend as much as $100m to commission low-cost content designed exclusively for the web.
They added: “The site is planning a series of changes to its home page to highlight sets of "channels" around topics such as arts and sports. About 20 or so of those channels will feature several hours of professionally produced original programming a week."
A YouTube spokesman said: "We're always updating the look and feel of YouTube. Any changes in YouTube’s design would involve lots of research and would be rolled out slowly, over time to ensure the best possible user experience."
It is unclear when the site will start investing in content but sources say its executives have already visited the top Hollywood talent agencies in search of ideas and will work with professional production companies to create the shows.
The move comes just ahead of IPTV taking off in the UK and the beginnings of nascent TV app stores.