According to a story published today in the Wall Street Journal, Google-owned YouTube is finishing up preparations on premium video channels for the streaming video site. Ideally launching in the first half of 2012, these premium channels are themed by topics such as sports and fashion. YouTube plans to pay up to a few million dollars for content and providers are already starting to work on content creation over October and November. In addition, content will roll out on these channels at a scheduled date and time in order to encourage people to return.
Some of the content creators are expected to be famous celebrities and these people may also act as the hosts for the channel. Identical to popular YouTube personalities, Google is allowing the content creators to set the schedule for the content release. Similar to the Hulu advertising model, Google expects to earn money from the premium channels though in-video advertisement or sponsorship. There’s also potential for the YouTube premium channels to play into Google’s currently dormant Google TV product. Google TV has received its share of negative criticism due to lack of content and hardware manufacturers are slashing prices on Google TV products. Logitech recently slashed the price of the Revue from $249 to $99 and Sony cut the prices of its Google TV-powered HDTVs in August 2011.
Analysts believe that Google is attempting to challenge broadcast television and premium cable networks with this content, hence the scheduled times for new programming. However, it’s likely that content can be viewed directly after the initial broadcast, a move only accomplished with a DVR for regular cable television. However, Google may institute a window of time when the video is available similar to the content flow on Hulu. The timing could punish viewers that miss the scheduled release of the content by simply delaying the viewing period for 24 hours.