YouTube Adds Hollywood Glitz to Court Madison Avenue

Announces New Channels From Prominent Film Directors and the U.S. Olympic Committee

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YouTube wraps nearly two weeks of online video upfronts with a presentation to advertisers Wednesday night, and after at least $100 million invested in new content, they've got quite a bit riding on it.

A still from
A still from "Jan," a coming series on the WIGS channel.

In hopes of generating sizzle, YouTube announced two new channel partners that will receive funding, as well as a host of new shows and channels from existing partners and celebrities. The new channels join the nearly 100 that YouTube has funded and announced over the past six months:

WIGS: Launched by filmmakers Jon Avnet ("Black Swan, "Fried Green Tomatoes," "Risky Business") and Rodrigo Garcia ("Albert Nobbs," "In Treatment," "Mother and Child"), the channel will feature scripted shows and short films with female leads. The first four shows will star a host of celebrities including Julia Stiles, Dakota Fanning, Caitlin Gerard, Virginia Madsen, Stephen Moyer and Jeanne Tripplehorn. It will launch in May.

TeamUSA: Just in time for the 2012 Summer Games, the USOC is launching a channel with shows such as "The Road to London," with historic Olympics footage and instruction from Olympics coaches. Don't expect any current-games coverage here -- that 's closely guarded by NBC and the International Olympic Committee's other international media partners. That channel will have AT&T as a sponsor and also launch in May.

The 100-odd channels that YouTube has funded so far receive anywhere from a few hundred thousand to $5 million as an advance on ad revenue. Once that 's recouped, revenue sharing kicks in. Some channels will succeed and some will fail, but YouTube is assuming all the risk to seed media properties on their platform.

In addition to new partners, YouTube's third-largest channel, gaming network Machinima and Halo Waypoint, will roll out an original show to preview the launch of the eighth installment of the Halo gaming franchise next fall, "Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn."

YouTube said a raft of previously announced channels would be coming in the summer, including SoulPancake from Rainn Wilson, Smart Girls at the Party from Amy Poehler, Life & Times from Jay -Z, Walter Latham's Kings of Comedy, Hungry from Electus' Ben Silverman and an original channel from The Onion.

By July, YouTube said, 25 hours of new programming will be uploaded to its site daily.

Among the nearly 100 YouTube channels launched over the past few months, some are garnering well over 1 million views a week, according to YouTube data: SourceFed, Howcast, DanceOn, WWE Fan Nation, Red Bull, Noisey, ENTV and MotorTrend.

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