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YouTube takes on TV as Google spends £60m on new video

YouTube is to start showing original programmes, with plans to sink £60m into online videos, directly taking on TV for the first time.

YouTube is to start showing original programmes. Google plans to sink £60m into online videos on the site, directly targeting TV for the first time.

Google wants you to sit and watch YouTube as you would watch broadcast telly, the Wall Street Journal reports. Now YouTube is available through Web-connected TVs, the site is migrating to the sofa rather than chaining you to your computer.

The venture needs to make money, however. The size of YouTube's audience -- more than 100 million in the US alone -- is attractive, but advertisers need to be convinced that the audience is a money-spending demographic rather than a potty-mouthed prepubescent circle of hell. After all, it's the quality of your audience that's important, which is why we like you so much, you handsome devil you.

YouTube will start marshalling your videos into themed channels, and around 20 of those channels will also include original content. It'll be professionally produced, with Google spending around $100m (£61.4m) on tonnes of low-cost content designed specifically for the Web.

Sites such as Will Ferrell's Funny Or Die show there's a market for professionally made short-form original online content, although it's not always plain sailing: the British arm of Funny Or Die was forced to close last year.

Google's plans follow the news that US streaming service Netflix has beaten TV networks to be first to show David Fincher and Kevin Spacey's new drama, based on the British political thriller House of Cards.

The original House of Cards was a 1990 BBC mini-series starring Ian Richardson as spindly spin doctor Francis Urquhart, spinning a web of political intrigue in Westminster. Kevin Spacey will play the machiavellian mandarin in the US version. Spacey recently took on the American political system playing disgraced real-life lobbyist Jack Abramoff in the film Casino Jack.

As online channels develop, it would be great to see not just original content but also casualties of the fickle world of the gogglebox. Programmes such as Arrested Development, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and Firefly live on after cancellation, in DVD and streaming sales, suggesting there's room for cult shows to make money even if they didn't find a sizeable audience in the hothouse of network television.

Would you watch original videos and programmes on YouTube? And which shows would you like to see resurrected online? Let us know in the comments or on our Facebook wall. And to see some fantastic online video starring your favourite Cravers, hit up the videos section here at CNET UK.