YouTube Expands Original Content Initiative Abroad With 60-Plus Channels

YouTube Launches Dedicated Ramadan Channel

Online video site YouTube launched a channel dedicated to Middle East series screening during the holy month of Ramadan, which kicks off Friday. YouTube will screen more than 50 series from across the region on the site. Middle East broadcasters earn a major chunk of their annual revenue during the 30-day period.

UPDATED: The programming will come from partners in the U.K., France, Germany and the U.S., including Endemol and BBC Worldwide.

Google's YouTube is taking its original content initiative global, announcing a slew of new programming channels from the U.K., France, Germany and the U.S.

Robert Kyncl, vp, global head of content announced the news of around 60 new channels in such categories as entertainment, sports, comedy, music, news, auto, beauty, health and cooking in a blog post entitled "YouTube’s original channels go global."

The new launches will add to the approximately 100 U.S. original content channels already available. Financial details weren't disclosed, but YouTube shelled out an estimated $150 million to launch the original channels.

The new channels will be available globally via YouTube on any device, the company said.

New creative partners include independent TV production powerhouse Endemol, BBC Worldwide and UFA/Fremantle. Among the new channels are The Jamie Oliver Food Channel built around the British TV chef, Endemol's Short Cuts: The Short Movie Channel, nature channel On Earth from BBC Worldwide, dance music channel Mixmag TV, royals news and gossip channel The Royals, Guinness World Records: OMG, fashion channel Fashtag, comedy channel Bad Teeth and health/wellness offer Body Talk Daily from U.K. content producer All3Media.

As THR had reported exclusively, Sarah Silverman and Adam Carolla are also launching YouTube channels with Daniel Kellison's new production company HaChaCha. Michael Cera, Tim & Eric and Reggie Watts have partnered with Silverman to provide content to her channel.

"Some of the most successful formats on TV come from Europe," Kyncl said in a statement. "The expansion of original channels in Europe allows more content creators of all stripes, from top producers to talented up-and-comers, to build their audiences all over the world."

"A lot has happened since we announced nearly 100 new original channels coming to YouTube," Kyncl said in a blog post. "7-year-old Ruby taught Amy Poehler about feminism. Rainn Wilson interviewed Deepak Chopra in the back of a mysterious van, and Phil DeFranco’s SourceFed became one of the hottest comedy news shows on the Web or TV. What do all these moments have in common? They’re being created for you on YouTube. And, when we look at the numbers, you’re liking what you watch."

Kyncl said that the Google-owned online video site's top 25 original channels are averaging more than 1 million views every week. Also, "800 million of you are watching 4 billion hours every month, that’s up from 3 billion hours earlier this year," he wrote. "The number of people subscribing has doubled year-over-year. And partners this year are reaching the 100,000 subscriber mark 5x faster than they were just two years ago."

Given the success, Kyncl said YouTube concluded that there was more great content to find and offer. "That’s why today, we’re excited to launch a new generation of original channels coming from France, Germany, the U.K. and the U.S.," he wrote. "From local cuisine, health and wellness and parenting to sports, music, comedy, animation and news, this new lineup of original channels will have something for everyone. They are backed by some of the biggest producers, well-known celebrities and emerging media companies from Europe and the U.S."


Twitter: @georgszalai