YouTube to Add 100 Channels

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Steve Jobs wasn't the only in the valley hatching a scheme to take a bite out of cable.

Google-owned YouTube is launching 100 channels on its site filled with original programming.

The new set up will have Google partnering with the likes of Ashton Kutcher, Madonna, The Onion, Slate and The Wall Street Journal to produce original content on YouTube.

YouTube has been exploring adding professionally produced content to its site for years, including a video rental service.

But the new announcement marks Google's deepest push into producing original content on YouTube since it bought the company.

"Today, the web is bringing us entertainment from an even wider range of talented producers, and many of the defining channels of the next generation are being born, and watched, on YouTube," Robert Kyncl, global head of content partnerships at YouTube, said on Google's blog. "For advertisers, these channels will represent a new way to engage and reach their global consumers."

Google is paying up to $100 million to producers to launch their channels, which are scheduled to launch next year.

The new venture will see about 25 hours of programming added a day once it launches.

According to reports, YouTube is paying $100m to producers as an advance on the advertising revenue that the videos will bring in. Advances are thought to be as much as $5m per channel and content creators are thought to be in line for more than half of all revenues made.

On Friday, Google also announced a new version of Google TV, adding search tools that expand results to include shows on cable or web-based services like Netflix and Amazon.

Robert Kyncl, global head of content partnerships at YouTube, characterized the channels' launch as a step change equivalent to the way that the cable TV industry expanded viewing from a handful of channels to hundreds, such as MTV, CNN and ESPN, that now "define media."

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