YouTube Nears Original Content Deals With 'X Factor' Producer, 'CSI' Creator, Tony Hawk
NEW YORK - YouTube is putting the finishing touches on deals with programming partners that are designed to bring professional content to the Google-owned online video site in channel form, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Among the content partners that have signed or are expected to sign with YouTube are skateboarder Tony Hawk, media companies, such as Warner Bros. and News Corp.'s ShineReveille unit, RTL Group's FremantleMedia, which produces The X Factor, BermanBraun, which has produced shows for SyFy and other cable channels, and IAC's Electus, run by Ben Silverman, according to the Journal.
As additional potential partners, it mentioned CSI creator Anthony Zuiker, Everyday Health, which produces content with celebrity trainer Jillian Michaels and others, Iconic Entertainment, founded by former Sundance Channel head Larry Aidem and former VH1 executive Michael Hirschorn, DECA, which makes online video content for women, and a sports content venture launched by NBA player Baron Davis and Cash Warren. The Journal, part of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., added that it may also produce news content for a YouTube channel.
With its content deals, YouTube is looking to become a next-generation content provider with a slew of online "channels" showing professional programming. The approach is similar to the way cable operators offer channels, but YouTube isn't charging consumers monthly subscriber fees. The site is spending more than $100 million in cash advances for the content production and is looking for advertising revenue in return, the Journal said. It will later split that ad revenue with content partners. The professional content channels are expected to roll out next year.
"We don't comment on rumor or speculation, but we're always talking to content creators and curators of all kinds about building audiences on YouTube," a spokesman for YouTube said. "The more engaging, high-quality content they bring to the site, the more content there is for YouTube users to enjoy."