Google TV Take Two? YouTube Goes Pro

on Wednesday, Apr. 6th

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By the end of the year YouTube will make a big push into the original content business, or so claims The Wall Street Journal today. It seems that the Google-owned video bazaar is looking to evolve into something a little more couch friendly as the living room wars heat up again.

Netflix just secured Mad Men streaming rights on the heels of announcing a major original content deal, and one industry observer has predicted that the video rental and streaming giant is going to resurrect a beloved show.

YouTube’s evolution looks to be a serious move in the battle for online video supremacy as the Journal reports:

YouTube is still in the process of designing the channels and in recent weeks held meetings with Hollywood talent agencies such as Creative Artists Agency, William Morris Endeavor and International Creative Management to discuss the possibility of their clients creating YouTube channels, some of the people familiar with the matter said. Several news publications previously reported on such talks.

Here’s a Debbie Downer question for the kids at the Big G: will these channels come soon enough to salvage the Google TV? Last year’s big Fall product announcement that promised to bring the power of Google into the living room was met with crickets by consumers. Even Apple TV, after a revamp, came out looking stronger than the Google platform during the key Christmas season. Those crazy remote controls sure didn’t help.

It may be too little, too late for Google to make a play for the living room on the content side, unless the content were in place when the TVs launched. Independent studios are gearing up for the moment when the line between internet video content and TV is abolished. And while YouTube is a popular platform for independents, it is far from the only game in town. The Wild West nature of YouTube makes it difficult for work to stand out, and quality and community issues have lured some creatives to competitive sites like Vimeo and Blip.tv.

As it is, the Google TV hardware line has to compete not only with the Apple product, but the Roku box, and Microsoft’s popular XBox amongst others. Look for one of these players to make a play to either acquire, or lock down Vimeo for an exclusive before the YouTube revamp is complete.

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