YouTube expands original programming push to Europe

Video platform will add 50 new original-content channels, including country-specific channels in France, Germany, and Britain.

YouTube is cranking up its original programming effort with an international push that includes new channels in Europe.

The video-sharing site announced this evening it is adding 50 channels on top of the 100 it has introduced in the past year, along with the launch of country-specific channels in France, Germany, and Britain.

"From local cuisine, health and wellness and parenting to sports, music, comedy, animation and news, this new lineup of original channels will have something for everyone," Robert Kyncl, YouTube's global head of content, said in a company blog post this evening announcing the new programs. "They are backed by some of the biggest producers, well-known celebrities and emerging media companies from Europe and the U.S."

Since announcing $100 million investment in original programming last October, YouTube said it is already harvesting the fruit of its labors. The video portal said that it is averaging more than a million views per week from its top 25 original channels and that more than 800,000 people are watching 4 billion hours of video every month -- up from 3 billion hours earlier this year. It also said the number of people subscribing has doubled over last year.

Google is investing an additional $200 million in marketing and production costs, The New York Times reports. The company expects its investment will help attract a greater number of YouTube users to its channels.

"I believe that every interest will, at some point, have a channel serving that interest," Kyncl told the Times. "People are building channels and creating audiences, which is something they couldn't do before in such numbers."

The expansion comes as competition heats up for consumers' entertainment dollars. Video platforms such as Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu are also touting original programming in their competition to attract viewers and advertisers.

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