YouTube plans overhaul of site into 'channels'

YouTube is set to overhaul its service in an effort to prepare itself for the rise of connected devices, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday. Similar content would be grouped into "channels," including fee-based ones that would feature up to 10 hours of original content a week.

Sources told the paper that this would be a significant investment, to the tune of at least $100 million. However with content increasingly being viewed off-website, the move seems aimed to protect YouTube's strong position in the streaming media sector. It could also offer the site a new revenue stream outside of the sale of advertising.

The change will not come all at once, and rather would appear gradually starting at the end of this year. In preparation for the launch, YouTube executives have reportedly already met with talent agencies in an effort to generate interest.

Sources said the deals are expected to be struck with content producers rather than specific celebrities themselves, meaning these channels would likely be more general in topic rather than linked to any one person.

YouTube certainly isn't the first streaming media provider to dabble in original content. Netflix last month won the rights to the original series House of Cards starring Kevin Spacey. In both cases, the companies are likely hoping the idea of content seen nowhere else acts as a draw.

That deal for a single program was said to set the entertainment company back some $100 million, the same as YouTube is said to be spending altogether on its own original programming plans.

A YouTube spokesperson declined to comment on the matter.

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