Today at the YouTube CES Keynote, YouTube head of content Robert Kyncl gave us the first good look at the YouTube Channels that we've been hearing about for several months. When Apple launched the App Store, the $100 million iFund was used to spur app development, and YouTube's taking a similar approach with content creators. For example, a millions-strong base of yoga enthusiasts exists that isn't served by any cable channel; YouTube is going after these niche audiences with 100 new channels set to launch in the coming months.

To draw new viewers and advertisers, Google's investing $100 million in content producers who are a step up from your classic cat video creators. Previewed today were Stan Lee, CSI creator Anthony Zuiker, Pharrell Williams, Rainn Wilson, Felicia Day, and more; the video producers were hand-picked by YouTube, and each will receive grants for creating new content for the channel. While the channels will have content quantity requirements, YouTube says it will be largely hands off with the programming that goes on the channels. Rainn Wilson or Pharrell Williams's channel, then, will be more of a curated channel than a web-only TV show. In 2020, YouTube expects over 75% of consumed video to be transmitted over the internet, and is maneuvering to take advantage of the shift.


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