YouTube to Spend Millions Producing Free-to-View Original Content

Following in Netflix’s footsteps, YouTube is getting into the original content game with new plans to produce original series that will be available free to view.

As digital rivals venture into high-quality programming, YouTube is feeling pressure to respond, devoting resources to their own content while aiming for a wider audience.

The Google brand will make a multi-million dollar investment in more than 40 original shows and movies in the next year, according to sources who spoke to Bloomberg.

YouTube plans to bring star-power to the content in order to attract bigger advertisers to sponsor the programming.

“We’re working with YouTube stars and big celebrities that we know have global appeal, advertiser appeal and are largely established on the platform,” Susanne Daniels, YouTube’s head of original content, said in an interview.

YouTube has signed up comedian Kevin Hart and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres as its first two high-profile celebrities. Hart’s show will be a workout-based series while DeGeneres’ program will give fans a peak backstage into the making of her talk show.

The plans mark a shift for Google, which has typically treated its giant video library as a free-for-all rather than a home for television programming.