YouTube, historically, has been the playground of things like the Chinese Backstreet Boys and the Numa Numa guy, but Google may be thinking about adding another layer to the popular video destination.
Officials at the search giant, which owns YouTube, are reportedly planning to add up to 20 ‘channels’ of original, professionally produced content, which will fill between 5-10 hours per week.
The Wall Street Journal, which originated the story, says the ultimate goal is for the site to compete with both broadcast and cable television and YouTube plans to spend as much as $100 million on the initiative.
At stake are not only increased dwell times (YouTube visitors spend an average of 15 minutes per day on the site), but substantial ad revenue. (The television industry takes in roughly $70 billion per year.)
The move follows a recent deal by Netflix to exclusively run “House of Cards,” an original television series starring Kevin Spacey, bypassing networks entirely. Netflix is gaining power with its audience of 20 million subscribers (which is nearly as many people as HBO boasts).
YouTube, meanwhile, had 111 million unique visitors in February.