Rumor has it that YouTube is going to get a big makeover, as a more traditional channel-oriented site. That's not to say it will lose its current function as a user-generated video hub or the second largest search engine, but it may be getting a little more Television-friendly.
A report from the Wall Street Journal brings this news, based on what they were told by "people familiar with the matter". The report says:
The company is planning changes to the homepage that would highlight sets of channels around topics such as arts and sports. YouTube is looking to introduce 20 or so "premium channels" that would feature five to 10 hours of professionally-produced original programming a week, one of these people said. Additional channels would be assembled from content already on the site.
The report also says that Google will spend spend as much as $100 million to commission the creation of original content for the premium channels. This is certainly in line with the apparent trend in video entertainment distribution companies.
This would all make a great amount of sense for YouTube and Google, given the rising popularity of connected televisions and related devices. While YouTube is certainly in no danger of losing its place as a frequent destination for online video viewers, it will pay in the long run to make it easier for people to browse the kind of content they are looking for - the average channel surfer - this will help make the YouTube experience more like the familiar TV experience.
It should also foster longer time spent on site by users, which means Google will have more time to show more ads and drive more revenue. It could also help Google TV look more appealing to consumers.
In other YouTube news, the site now has a new related searches and advanced search option format, as Alex Chitu at Google Operating System discovered.
"We have expanded the functionality of this feature and reorganized it to allow users to have the above tools, but also a range of options to explore new YouTube Topics on search. This updated feature is called 'Filter & Explore," says YouTube on a help page.
Better search is always helpful for discovering content too.