With Google gearing up to infuse massive amount of money to turn YouTube into a competition for Television, the popular video sharing website, which has grown into its role in the world of internet as a social platform for the users, stands a risk of losing its charm.
Quoting people familiar with the matter, Wall Street Journal reported April 7 that the Google Inc. is working on a major overhaul of YouTube as it tries to position itself for the rise of televisions.
Competing with broadcast and cable television, Google is aiming to entice users to stay on YouTube longer, to boost revenue prospects by convincing advertisers on the reach for desirable consumers.
According to the report, YouTube is set to undergo a series of changes. The home page will be revamped to highlight sets of channels around topics such as arts and sports.
About 20 or so of those channels will feature several hours of professionally produced original programming a week, the report informed, adding that additional channels would be assembled from content already on the site.
Google is planning to spend as much as $100 million to commission low-cost content designed exclusively for the Web, sources told WSJ.
The move comes at a time when streaming video services are growing stronger, exemplified by the recent successes of Netflix Inc, Amazon.com Inc. and Hulu LLC. As recent as Wednesday, satellite operator Dish Network Corp. won a bankruptcy auction for Blockbuster Inc., a streaming movie business.
Between the Wild West of user-generated content and the pricier precincts of full-blown TV shows, Google is hoping to carve out a niche of original, professionally produced Web videos that it hopes will cultivate loyal viewers, the WSJ report noted.
Google bought YouTube in 2006. Since then, the site has been on a hunt for feature content to sell more ads.
Now, with the overhaul slated to be rolled out in phases starting 2011-end, the site is also reportedly hiring people to help with the transition.
Although, YouTube's transition is set to take a months, the transformation is set to affect the old charm of the site derived from the role it played as a social media sharing platform.
YouTube has been the grounds for thousands of video bloggers, from controversial to informative. The site has entertained the internet audiences with fan videos, home productions, and hilarious spoofs. Besides this, the site has also recently played a much more significant role in the recent raise of social media by turning grounds for activism as well as citizen reporting, even in the recent case of March 11 Japan Earthquake.
Now, with the internet giant making some changes in the way the site works, there is a possibility that YouTube fans may miss the old school charm.
A YouTube spokesman, however, has declined to comment on the news.
YouTube saw incredible growth in 2010 and we're excited about the future, the spokesman told WSJ.