updated 04:45 pm EDT, Wed April 6, 2011
YouTube working on premium channels
YouTube is hoping to turn to original content as a way of making content for Google TV and otherwise drawing in viewers, sources said Wednesday. The Google video site is planning to launch about 20 "premium" channels that would have roughly five to ten hours of unique content every week. The WSJ heard YouTube would be willing to spend as much as $100 million to get the content.
The deals would most likely lean towards major professional content, including using actors represented by Creative Artists, William Morris, and ICM. Deals would be broad and focus more on established producers and directors than any one actor.
Other channels might be curations of regular YouTube content.
The move would explain YouTube's decision to buy Next New Networks. Although ostensibly to help independents and others find their footing for YouTube videos, the podcasting veteran will now likely help YouTube itself produce content that it could use as a draw.
For Google, the move would help further expand YouTube beyond its roots in homemade or otherwise amateur video, partly in preparation for its publicly known, in development paid movie service. It would also help drive video on TV-sized hardware, including not just Google TV but any YouTube-aware TV or a media hub like the Apple TV. Google TV may need it as most TV networks block the OS from their regular web video pages and have left the Android-based platform without much professional content to watch.