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YouTube Starts Rolling Out Cable TV Alternative
/ October 31, 2011 10:21 am

In an initiative that could appeal both to advertisers and to today’s fragmented audiences, YouTube announced about 100 original content channels from dozens of professional creators. If there’s an archetypical skateboarding dog among them, it will be a celebrity’s dog wearing a branded T-shirt on a program for teenagers.

Significantly, the programming will be available globally rather than be subject to the multitude of geographically demarcated licenses that complicate so many digital content and distribution deals. It will collectively account for about 25 hours of programming every day.

Demonstrating the wide range of channels that will be rolling out over the next several months, the well-known names participating as creators include Madonna, Jay-Z, Amy Poehler, Rainn Wilson, Shaquille O’Neal, Sofia Vergara (pictured), Tony Hawk and Ashton Kutcher.

Viewers will be encouraged to subscribe to channels that interest them. To aid with discovery, the channels will be grouped into topic categories such as pop culture, sports, music, health and fitness, animals, and domestic design, as well as categories organized by demographics like age range and ethnic identity.

“These channels will have something for everyone, whether you’re a mom, a comedy fan, a sports nut, a music lover or a pop-culture maven,” Robert Kyncl, global head of Content Partnerships, wrote on the company’s blog.

“Our goal with this channels expansion … is to bring an even broader range of entertainment to YouTube, giving you more reasons to keep coming back again and again,” Kyncl wrote. “And for advertisers, these channels will represent a new way to engage and reach their global consumers.”

The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed people familiar with the matter, said YouTube is paying more than $100 million in advances and is expected to give some content creators a generous equal split of the resulting ad revenue after YouTube recoups.

The well-known names aren’t limited to those in front of the cameras, either. On the other side are major media outlets like the Reuters, the Wall Street Journal, IGN, Hearst Magazines and Thomson Reuters, production entities including Ben Silverman’s Electus, Lloyd Braun and Gail Berman’s BermanBraun, and Brian Bedol’s Bedrocket.

Related links:

YouTube blog post – http://tinyurl.com/3tnjwh4

YouTube original channels guide – http://tinyurl.com/44wkl86

Los Angeles Times – http://tinyurl.com/3sn3al7

AllThingsD – http://tinyurl.com/3lwmppv

PaidContent – http://tinyurl.com/3t5q7px

AdAge – http://tinyurl.com/3s2hxjq

Photo of  Sofia Vergara courtesy of The Sofia Vergara Collection for Kmart


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