YouTube to launch entertainment channels; ropes in big names

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New York, Oct 31: Popular video playing site YouTube is making its foray into original programming and is planning big in its entertainment venture with as many as 100 content creators, ranging from Madonna to the Wall Street Journal.

The video site owned by Google revealed that it is launching more than 100 new video channels. The partners for the same include Hollywood production companies, celebrities and new media groups that will be involved in producing niche-oriented videos.

Sources have divulged that YouTube is spending close to $100 million to be given to producers. The figures is supposed to be an advance on advertising money the videos will bring in. Advances are expected to be as high as $5 million per channel, unnamed sources revealed. Google refused to divulge details of the financials and only said that most of the revenue will go to the partners.

The participants of the ambitious project include Madonna, former NBA star Shaquille O'Neal, comedian Amy Poehler, actor Ashton Kutcher, "Office" star Rainn Wilson, spiritual doctor Deepak Chopra and "Modern Family" actress Sofia Vergara.

The entertainment channels will roll out beginning of next month. YouTube claims that the channels will add 25 hours of new original content daily, with lots of Web series also debuting at scheduled times.

YouTube had posted in its blog and said that the channels are being developed "specifically for the digital age." Touted to rival television programming, YouTube has built a more advertiser-friendly product of professional-quality video.

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