YouTube takes original programming venture abroad

Associated Press Modified: October 8, 2012 at 2:32 pm •  Published: October 8, 2012
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LONDON (AP) — YouTube is extending its original programming initiative into Europe, with at least 60 new video channels from media companies including Britain's BBC, London-based FreemantleMedia and the Netherlands' Endemol.

The Google Inc.-owned video site said Monday 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. Like the pre-existing American offerings, the European channels 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," Ben McOwen Wilson, who manages YouTube's northern European partnerships, said in a telephone interview ahead of the announcement.

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.

McOwen 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."

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