YouTube is to offer the first of about 25 professionally aggregated linear channels this January. The gossip is that Google is spending a total of about $150 million with the likes of FremantleMedia, Elisabeth Murdoch’s Shine/Reveille group, Warner Bros and others to acquire its programming at a rate of about $5 million per channel – which might not worry the major networks too much given that many of them spend that amount every evening of the week.
However, the amount is significant when compared to the normal cost of user-generated video content usually carried by YouTube.
Google boss Larry Page last week told analysts in a conference call that YouTube is well-placed to help content creators, and to “get paid both through advertising and directly”.
Whether this means that YouTube will be entering the world of pay-TV, or PPV, is yet to be seen.