YouTube wants to be more like a television network. And the Google-owned company has been throwing money at content producers in Hollywood and elsewhere to get themselves there.
According to The Wall Street Journal, YouTube is putting up more than $100 million in cash advances to develop original content that will run on one of 20 or so “channels” dedicated to categories like food, comedy, health and news. YouTube hopes the new channels, which are expected to roll out sometime next year, will draw in big money from advertisers.
With its channels initiative, Google—which has been under pressure to turn YouTube into a profit center since buying the site for $1.6 billion in 2006—is aiming to position the site for the rise of televisions and cable set-top boxes that let people watch online video in their living rooms.
Google wants to convince big advertisers that it can create a safe environment to showcase their brands on a global scale, and to divert some of their $60 billion in annual broadcast and cable ad spending to YouTube.