Google's YouTube video unit is rolling out 100 professional channels to compete with cable companies. Ideally, users would access Google TV to watch the channels.
Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) YouTube arm took its first public
step to unveil its reported $100 million investment in content producers,
introducing channels from 100 celebrities and major content producers to coax
users to spend more time on the Website.
YouTube hasn't hid from the fact that it wants to boost
user engagement, which will vastly increase the number of ads it serves and
profit the video sharing unit makes from those ads.
To do this, the company
needs to increase the amount of time users spend on the Website from an average
of 15 minutes to a few hours. One way to do this is by offering professionally
produced content channels.
If that sounds like YouTube is looking to challenge cable
companies, it is. Only instead of pairing the pipes with the content, Google is
simply serving more content over the Web, including channels from Madonna, rapper
Jay-Z, The Onion, actor Ashton Kutcher and former NBA great Shaquille O'Neal,
who is hosting a comedy show.
The content, which the
Wall Street Journal
(also a content producer in the program) said will include
25 hours of fresh programming a day, will cover TV, film, music, news, sports
and fitness. YouTube offered a sneak peek of the channels here
Robert Kyncl, global head of content partnerships for YouTube, made no secret
about this in a corporate blog post
"Our goal with this channels expansion, along with
the grants and educational programs we've launched in the past year, is to
bring an even broader range of entertainment to YouTube, giving you more
reasons to keep coming back again and again. And for advertisers, these
channels will represent a new way to engage and reach their global
YouTube won't disclose the financial details, but the
Journal said YouTube is expected to give some content creators 55 percent of ad
revenue after YouTube makes back the cash advances it paid them.
YouTube said the first of these new original channels
will appear next month, available on a Web-connected device.
What YouTube would
love most of all is if owners of Google TV sets, including Sony Internet
televisions and Blu-ray players, as well as users of Logitech Revue TV sets,
began watching the new YouTube channels on a regular basis.
Fittingly, YouTube announced its pro channel news merely
hours after unveiling its new and improved Google TV service
, which includes
applications from the Android Market, better search and, of course, a retooled
Google TV can collect information about content users watch with the
users' permission. Naturally, such a pairing with YouTube can provide
Google with considerable targeted advertising opportunities.