updated 10:40 pm EDT, Fri October 14, 2011
YouTube TV strategy narrowed down in scoop
Google's YouTube alternative to TV was given substantiating details in a possible scoop Friday. The professionally-made content would include about 24 channels, Hollywood Reporter claimed to have confirmed, and would focus on "TV-style" entertainment and news. A launch could come as soon as within a month.
The cash invested into securing deals might also be going up. Earlier rumors had Google paying $100 million, but newer tips had it spending as much as $150 million.
An expansion of YouTube to include buying individual TV episodes or watching them ad-sponsored was coming, but it was considered separate from the live channels, the contacts involved said.
The channels are thought not just to be a way of getting more professional, ad-friendly content on YouTube but to be a vital ingredient for Google TV and other Android platforms. Google TV launched last year under the hope that studios would welcome the mix of the web and TV, but most took a hostile approach: within a few months, most majors blocked Google TV from their video sites, rendering it useless for mainstream TV online outside of a handful of pre-selected apps. Having two dozen live YouTube channels could be an end run that gives Google TV owners a reason to use the Internet half without feeling pushed into amateur content.
On mobile, YouTube live channels would provide a rare live TV service that doesn't require either paid access or cellphone service from just one provider. Apple currently has an edge on Google with paid TV shows from iTunes, but virtually no one has free-to-air professional streaming.