YouTube partners with celebrities to drive original programming

Globally popular video-sharing platform YouTube is set to partner with a number of high-profile celebrities to add around 100 channels of original programming.

The site’s venture into original content includes deals with A-list partners such as actor Ashton Kutcher and pop legend Madonna.

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“Even more talented creators and original entertainment will soon join YouTube’s existing channel lineup,” YouTube global head of content partnerships Robert Kyncl said in a blog post.

“Including channels created by well-known personalities and content producers from the TV, film, music, news, and sports fields, as well as some of the most innovative up-and-coming media companies in the world,” he added.

YouTube’s parent company Google reportedly spent more than US$100-million establishing the partnerships.

It is believed that the deals are part of a bid by the California-based technology titan to become the preferred source of content for internet linked televisions.

Google’s TV platform has stagnated somewhat in recent times and it is hoped that the YouTube-based original content will breathe new life into it.

“These channels will have something for everyone, whether you’re a mom, a comedy fan, a sports nut, a music lover or a pop-culture maven,” Kyncl said.

Google also unveiled second generation Google TV software that simplified controls, improved search , provided slicker integration with YouTube and gave the option to add applications made by outside developers.

“In the grander scheme, it is another step on a long road,” said Chris Dale of the Google TV team. “We are committed to the product and making it better.”

Google is among those technology firms betting that the future of home entertainment is films, TV shows, and other on-demand video content streamed over the internet.

The internet giant launched Google TV last year. The Smart TV platform — co-developed by Google, Intel, Sony and Logitech — is powered by an Android operating system and the Linux version of Chrome web browser.

Google TV can be accessed using Sony TV sets or via set-top boxes using Logitech that route web content to existing television sets.

Both Sony and Logitech, however, have slashed prices on Google TV offerings in the face of disappointing sales.

One way Google is hoping to address these disappointing figures is by rolling out a number of software updates, which it says will make it easier and more intuitive for users to find online video.

Although, Google TV has the might of the tech giant behind it, it is entering into a competitive market where the likes of Netflix and Hulu have established a degree of dominance.

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