After Google bought the site for $1.6 billion in 2006 and eventually faced pressure to turn it into a profit center, YouTube went on the hunt for feature content, like TV and movies, expecting such content would make it easier to sell ads. But that effort has been slow going as Google has so far remained unwilling to pay licensing fees on the same scale as Netflix and others.
From the beginning, YouTube also featured plenty of professional entertainment content, but it was often posted without the owners' consent. The site eventually implemented a filtering system in response to complaints from content owners.
Now, it is pursuing a middle way, investing in programming rather than spending huge sums to license it.
Brenna Ehrlich is tracking more developments:
There were also rumors buzzing around in February that YouTube CEO Salar Kamangar will be building out the site’s recently instated talent program by offering big-name stars their own YouTube channels. Those stars would then fill the channels with original content, while also keeping complete control of those three-minute videos. YouTube, in turn, would rake in the ad revenue.
And let’s not forget sports — YouTube is also apparently in talks with some major sporting leagues to bring even more live games to the site (it has already featured livestreaming Indian Premier League cricket matches).