It may have sounded a bit silly a few months ago when Italy announced it would regulate YouTube like a TV station, but now there’s this: According to the Wall Street Journal, Google is planning to spend upwards of $100 million on professionally-produced, original videos.
The WSJ cites “people familiar with the matter,” who say the push for original content is part of a “major overhaul” of YouTube — one that will make the site more friendly for the convergence of web video and living room TV viewing.
For years, Google has been positioning itself as more than just an amateur video depot. Almost two years ago, Google signed a number of deals to bring premium Hollywood content to YouTube. Further back, YouTube added full-length TV reruns, but NetFlix seems to have become the primary place for watching old TV shows today.
The WSJ says YouTube’s redesign will include a number of topic-based “channels,” like sports and arts, and about 20 of the channels will include “several hours of professionally produced original programming a week.” People are being hired now to help execute the new plan, and the changes are expected to begin before the end of the year, the WSJ says.