YouTube is teaming up with media companies to produce original content in its latest bid to boost the amount of professional material on the video-sharing site, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.
The newspaper said Google-owned YouTube is expected to announce as early as next week that it has signed partnerships with media companies and well-known personalities to produce original content.
The Journal, citing people familiar with the matter, said expected media partners include IAC/InterActiveCorp.'s Electus, News Corp.'s ShineReveille unit, RTL Group's FremantleMedia Ltd., skateboarding legend Tony Hawk and "CSI" creator Anthony Zuiker.
The Journal said the Mountain View, California-based Google is putting up more than $100 million in cash advances to get some of the content produced.
It said Google will split advertising revenue with its partners.
A YouTube spokesman told the newspaper the site is "always talking to content creators and curators of all kinds about building audiences on YouTube."
YouTube, which Google bought for $1.65 billion in 2006, has been gradually adding professional content in an effort to generate revenue.
According to the Journal, it is planning a major overhaul by creating "channels" to compete with broadcast and cable TV.
YouTube began renting movies from the Sundance Film Festival last year and expanded its offerings in May with films from Sony Pictures, Warner Brothers, Lionsgate Films and other studios.
YouTube remains the top online destination for amateur video, but it faces stiff competition when it comes to professional content from services such as Apple's iTunes, Hulu and Netflix.
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