Google is reportedly looking to spend as much as $100 million to fund professionally produced video content exclusively for YouTube. The move would come as part of a major overhaul this year designed to get more people to watch YouTube just as they watch TV, with the introduction of around 20 dedicated 'channels' for topics like arts and sports.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Google is seeking a middle ground between professional content and the amateur video that YouTube was founded upon. To this end the company will focus low-cost productions rather than licensing expensive franchises or signing David Fincher and Kevin Spacey to create an original TV series, as Netflix is doing in its bid to rival broadcast and cable television.
No specific timeframe for the initiative was mentioned other than assuring "any changes in YouTube's design would involve lots of research and would be rolled out slowly, over time to ensure the best possible user experience." The site is also said to be actively pursuing deals with professional sporting leagues around the world in a bid to bring more live streaming sporting events and thus a lot more viewers to the video site.