Rumor: Google will shell out $100 million to enlist celebrities on YouTube

celebrity tubeCalling all B and C-level actors, Google’s got a YouTube application with your name on it. New York Magazine is reporting that Google is in talks to bring on some famous faces to create their own video content. New YouTube CEO Salar Kamangar is reaching out to Hollywood agents to try and market a celebrity-bred YouTube channel packed full of “original, three minute long shows.” The names behind it would own the product, and YouTube would be able to sell off ad space on the channel easily.

Google is looking to sign up 20 celebrities to begin with, and will offer them up to $5 million “per celeb-branded channel.” Google wouldn’t comment on the rumor, but if it’s true it would definitely help YouTube become a more attractive advertising space. Both Yahoo and AOL are involved in similar projects right now – and both in order to drive their commercial sales. AOL will be introducing its own late-night comedy block, and we all know now how desperate the network is for advertising dollars. Yahoo is making a play for this same type of profit with customized mobile content, including its new digital magazine Livestand.

The difference between Google’s presumed feature and its competitors’ is that it actually stands a chance at massive success. AOL and Yahoo will have to work hard to establish themselves as viable options for this type of entertainment content. While Yahoo and AOL could see some meager profits, YouTube is the only portal that will start out with a large audience to pull from. It seems like a no brainer: Combine the type of viewership that YouTube has with celebrities, and you’ve got the type of Web traffic advertisers love. According to an insider, “The idea is not so much content acquisition as it is to supercharge content creation: By offering a wider range of better-quality content, viewers are happier, Google’s advertisers are happier, and the talent is happier.”

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