Google is ready for YouTube to become a network and is willing to spend a lot of coin to get it there. As mobile TV expands with each passing month and customers are looking for more and more quality content for their phones and tablets, YouTube is positioned to become the next big network.
While up until now, YouTube had been the go-to place for cute baby videos and crazy cat clips, behind the scenes the wheels are in motion to make the site much more legitimate. A lot of this will come about through original programming. YouTube has already started this to a certain extent; it has launched a section where filmmakers can feature their full-length movies. It has also created new alliances with its biggest producers in the past couple years; there is now much more incentive for established producers to pump out programming on a regular basis.
But some of this still does not reach the level of professional Hollywood production. YouTube is aiming to be on the same level as a cable TV channel, such as HBO or Showtime, and is ready to pay to make it happen. It has already worked out a deal with Tony Hawk, who has had a long history as a skateboard leader, as well as a great following of fans. YouTube is also in negotiations with Warner Bros., again to hopefully bring higher quality entertainment to the site. The new channels and shows are expected to roll out sometime next year.
How does this tie in to mobile TV? YouTube is one of the most watched mobile sites on any phone, tablet or platform. Almost everyone has access to it, either as a dedicated built-in app in the OS or by a short trip to the mobile Web browser. With so many built-in players on hundreds of devices, it only makes sense that quality content, aligned with premium advertisers, would be a match that has been waiting to happen.
While much of YouTube’s content has only marginal ways to generate income, the trick will be to provide high-quality shows and then attract top-tiered advertisers. Google also is slowly, very slowly, making its way into living rooms with its Google TV brand. While not exactly setting the world on fire, the units from manufacturers such as Logitech and Sony have recently been dramatically reduced in prices, which has spurred more consumer adoption, as well as increased interest. Again, there is the YouTube icon right in the main menu of Google TV — yet another path for getting quality work out there.
While Google did announce that it was sinking sinking $100 million into original programming to boost YouTube, the journey is only just beginning. It takes a lot of planning, development and time to produce a hit show, and Google is definitely in it for the long haul when it comes to YouTube. But when the shows do hit, and if they do take off, YouTube is poised to dominate the new field of hit internet shows going out to millions of mobile TV viewers.