Google’s YouTube Said to Seek Hollywood Deals in Channel Revamp

YouTube Revamp
Google Inc.'s YouTube video-sharing Web site. Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

April 7 (Bloomberg) -- YouTube, Google Inc.’s online video website, is negotiating with Hollywood and music producers for material to offer on a lineup of new channels, according to three people involved in the talks.

The channels, part of a YouTube.com overhaul, would let Google offer ad-supported videos to viewers who increasingly use the Web to watch films and TV shows, said one of the people who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly. The discussions are preliminary and no plans have been solidified, one person said.

YouTube intends to offer channels tailored to music, TV, and sports, along with a celebrity site, each with more than 10 hours of professionally programmed original material a week, one of the people said. Plans call for 20 channels funded with $5 million each for programming, a separate person said.

YouTube will initially focus on short programs and music videos, the people also said. In creating original content, YouTube is following the lead of Netflix Inc., which purchased the exclusive rights to stream 26 episodes of “House of Cards,” starring Kevin Spacey, next year. Netflix, Amazon.com Inc. and Hulu LLC mainly offer full-length programs.

YouTube’s service wouldn’t be available until later this year or early in 2012, one person said.

Online video usage in the U.S. increased 45 percent year-over-year in January, according to statistics released by Nielsen Co. YouTube has become the most popular online video website in the U.S. by carving a niche where users can watch and post videos for free.

Chris Dale, a spokesman for YouTube, had no immediate comment. The Wall Street Journal reported on the plans yesterday.

Shorts and Videos

Leading the talks is Alex Carloss, who joined YouTube in March from Viacom Inc.’s Paramount Pictures, where he led digital distribution, said one of the people.

Google, owner of the most-used search engine, rose $4.28 to $578.46 at 10:26 a.m. New York time in Nasdaq Stock Market trading. The company, based in Mountain View, California, had dropped 3.3 percent this year before today.

To contact the reporters on this story: Ronald Grover in Los Angeles at rgrover5@bloomberg.net; Brian Womack in San Francisco at Bwomack1@bloomberg.net; Andy Fixmer in Los Angeles at afixmer@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net