We all knew it was coming. Ever since Google bought YouTube back in 2006, there's been constant talk that Google may some day launch it's own premium original programming on the popular video uploading site. As expected, Google announced in October that it planned on investing over 100 million dollars (that's right, 100 with six zeroes after it) in order to get quality original content.
During that time they also leaked a few of the big celebrity names that had signed on to the project such as Ashton Kutcher, Shaquille O'Neal, Tony Hawk, Jay-Z, and Madonna. There was no talk about the format behind each of these videos but given the names of some of the producers that they listed, you can be sure that they'll be specific channels on music, movies, and sports – which all happen to be some of the hardest mediums to break into.
Shortly thereafter, YouTube also unveiled their movie and television streaming service which means that not only will YouTube be serving up videos of people's crazy antics around the world, it will be serving up content from established entertainment providers and from their own user-created library as well. If all of this works out for Google, they will not only be the largest online repository of user-created and established entertainment company videos. That may make them a force to be feared in the video world.
The reasoning behind this move is a desire for Google to get people to stay on their site longer (for advertising purposes) as well as being a vehicle for instant niche content which Google feels it's uniquely suited to do. This niche market idea will also have the benefit of giving advertisers a more targeted audience to reach for less money than it would take to do a more generic campaign. In addition, the people and companies that Google is in the process of recruiting will be able to share in part of the ad revenues giving them a real incentive to make sure quality content is always available on the site.
Google plans on grabbing a big cut of the $300 billion television industry with this idea and with all of the cash and human resource reserves they have, they could very well make that desire into a reality. This means that if Google succeeds, we may end up seeing a day where we no longer give our edited video content to cable channels, but to YouTube instead.