YouTube is to expand the number of “channels” hosted on its site and for the first time it will be focussing on content aimed at the UK and other European countries such as Germany and France.
The Google-owned video portal has more than 100 existing channels and 25 of these already attract at least 1m weekly viewers in the US.
According to C21 Media, the expansion will see 60 new channels added in the coming months. 46 of these will be aimed at European users, of which 21 will be UK-orientated, covering sport, health, automotive, comedy, entertainment, food and news genres.
The “channelisation” of YouTube is part of the site’s drive to attract high quality TV-style content, as well as the millions of DIY videos that it is famous for. Another key reason for making parts of YouTube more like an on-demand TV service is to be attractive to advertisers.
YouTube also has its “leanback” version tailored for set-top boxes and smart TVs for viewing on the main home screen instead of a PC or handheld gadget.
BBC Worldwide will be providing two of its own channels, says The Next Web. These will be a nature channel, featuring new films from BBC Earth Productions, and a topical science channel, to be launched early next year and presented by Top Gear’s James May.
Some content will be available outside the UK too. The BBC will also be adding full-length new or archive programmes to its existing line-up of YouTube channels, including new Top Gear episodes, EastEnders, The Likely Lads, the BBC Shakespeare Collection and various other dramas. They will be aimed at viewers in the UK and Canada to begin with.
In addition, the new UK YouTube channels will carry programmes from ITN, Jamie Oliver, Hat Trick (the maker of Have I Got News for You), All3Media (a group of 20 production companies behind the likes of Midsomer Murders, Embarrassing Bodies, Skins, Shameless and The Gadget Show) and Zodiak Active (whose production companies made series such as Being Human, Wallander, Waybuloo and The Secret Millionaire). It’s not yet known which programmes from these groups will be available on YouTube under the new deal.