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YouTube to start making its own TV programmes

YouTube is planning a $100 million spending spree which will see the Google-owned Internet video outfit making its own programming.

Quoting 'people familiar with the matter' more times than we find entirely comfortable, The Wall Street Journal reckons YouTube is looking to compete with traditional broadcasters with as many as 20 dedicated channels optimised for Internet-connected TVs.

The world's third largest web site won't turn its back on clips of skateboarding teenagers bursting a testicle and piano-playing animals completely, but is planning on creating 'several hours of professionally produced original programming a week' according to the WSJ sources.

YouTube has had a phenomenal success in terms of user hours in recent years, but Google has struggled to turn a buck on the site it snapped up back in 2006 for $1.6 billion. The company has been slow to react with outfits like Netflix and Hulu, which have both signed massive licensing deals with Hollywood studios, preferring to turn a blind eye to copyrighted material posted by users until the owners complain and issue take-down notices.

The new venture will see YouTube trying to find a middle-ground between big budget TV productions and its current menu of mobile phone clips and marketing virals produced by big businesses with the ad-supported channels.

Rumour has it that YouTube execs have been glad-handing Hollywood talent agencies in an effort to persuade their clients to get on board, so you can expect to see lots of fly-on-the-wall reality nonsense featuring burn-outs and B-listers coming to a screen very near you soon.

The Charlie Sheen Rant Channel, anyone?