YouTube Preps 96 Channels With Original Content (Multichannel News, CNET, GigaOM)

Google’s YouTube, looking to attract more advertising with professionally produced content, plans to launch some 96 new video channels in the next year featuring original content from a range of entertainment, sports, and news partners. CNET: Amateur hour may not exactly be over at YouTube, but it looks like the time has finally come for the sleeping kitties and exploding pop bottles to make some room for professionally produced content from the likes of Madonna, The Onion, TED Conferences, and others. TechCrunch: There are some big names on the list. But there are still a lot of questions: Will this content really rival the premium production values seen on cable? Will the shows be exclusive to YouTube? And how exactly is YouTube going to tweak the site’s user experience as it looks to shift users from funny cat videos toward these shows (which advertisers will be able to more effectively monetize)? NYT: The channels will receive programming from a long list of media companies, including big television production companies like FremantleMedia, as well as small startups like Maker Studios, YouTube said. GigaOM / NewTeeVee: An onslaught of exclusive content from a parade of A-list stars including Madonna, Rainn Wilson, Tony Hawk, Ashton Kutcher, Shaq, and others will be coming to YouTube in the next few months as the site is positioning itself as the next big cable channel, with the exception that you won’t need a cable subscription to watch it. AllThingsD: The channels aren’t all premised around the idea of celebrities and Hollywood per se — just the idea that someone with some idea of how to make good stuff will start making stuff specifically for the site.

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