YouTube prepares to launch scheduled TV channels

The Wall Street Journal reports that Google is getting ready to launch as many as a dozen TV-like channels with scheduled content to lure viewers away from their TV screens. It is said to have been shopping the ideas around US media firms for several months.

It is said to have cut a range of content deals and is paying “from a few hundred thousand dollars to several million to content creators to create and curate videos for a channel”.

There is no word on what these channels might be, but not hard to guess. YouTube already has a range of categories for some of the TV shows it features including entertainment, comedy, drama food, news and travel where visitors can watch clips or whole episodes.

Some of this content such as Five Neighbours is brand new programming while other stuff like Big Brother series 1 is archive material. Until now this has not been scheduled, which is the big change that YouTube is looking to make.

“The video giant is finalizing contracts for its first of more than a dozen “channels” featuring regularly scheduled content on big broad themes such as fashion and sports, according to people familiar with the matter.

YouTube has requested some content for the channels within the next 60 days, according to one of these people, as it considers a launch in early 2012.

A Google spokesman said, “We don’t comment on rumor or speculation”, the WSJ reports.