Google-owned YouTube is expanding its original programming initiative into Europe, with at least 60 new video channels from media companies, including the BBC, FreemantleMedia and Endemol, according to a report.
The plan, which would also include 'personality' channels, including one fronted by TV cook Jamie Oliver, is believed to be part of a bid to lure viewers away from traditional TV shows to online shows.
YouTube said that the new channels, with content from Britain, Germany, France, and the United States, will be in addition to the 100 channels launched in the U.S. last year, and will have a mix of celebrity-oriented, niche, and established programs.
"Some of the channels are personality-driven, others are from partners who are totally passionate about a subject," the Daily Mail quoted Ben McOwen Wilson, who manages YouTube's northern European partnerships, as saying.
According to the paper, Wilson said the new channels would include programming from BBC Worldwide, the British public broadcaster's commercial arm; Endemol, the Dutch company behind the 'Big Brother' reality television franchise; and FreemantleMedia, an arm of German media giant Bertelsmann responsible for 'American Idol.'
He said the goal was to let content producers come up with something they couldn't deliver on TV.
The expansion into Europe marks another step in YouTube's move into the territory normally occupied by traditional media companies.
The channels will also include content from more niche players: the British offerings include co-productions such as 'Guinness World Records: OMG' and 'The Jamie Oliver Food Channel'.
Wilson declined to reveal how much YouTube was investing in the European expansion. (ANI)