YouTube to Launch 13 French Premium Channels

– More Countries Expected to Follow in Worldwide Effort

YouTube, already developing 100 mostlyEnglish-language premium channels (channels, as in TV channels but available only at YouTube), has its sights set on France. It’s working with French content owners to develop 13 premium channels, according to the French paper, Le Figaro.

Google has set aside $350 million globally to develop and market its ad-supported channels. Most people think of Google as a search company, but in fact it and its subsidiaries such as YouTube are the world’s largest advertising network in revenue.

Le Figaro said the French channels will launch in October and that partners are the media companies Endemol and Capa, plus media stars such as Oscar winner Jean Dujardin, who may be doing a comedy channel. As in the States, the channels are expected to run the full gamut of genres: entertainment, cooking (of course that would be a channel in France) and health.

Endemol is a Holland-based TV production and distribution company that calls itself “the world’s largest independent production company, with over 80 companies in 31 countries with offices in over 20 countries.” Shows include “Big Brother,” “Fear Factor,” and “Deal or No Deal,” formats that could be used for Web series. See:

CAPA (Chabalier & Associates Press Agency) is a France-based producer of videos including many for the Web. See:

Producers of the French channels will receive a minimum guarantee comprised between €500,000 and €1million ($615,000 to $1.2 million) for creating 20 hours of content per year. If ad revenues exceed a Google-set amount for each channel, Google will pay the producers a percentage of the overage.

As in the States, Google will control the rights to the content. For a pre-set period of time producers won’t be allowed to distribute their content on other sites such as

Google also invited advertising agencies and Web sites to submit applications to operate a channel.

This is the first report of such an effort outside the States, but we expect that there are similar efforts in other European countries such as the UK, Germany and perhaps Scandinavia, where a lot of shows are being produced for TV and theaters. Asian countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea are sure to follow — maybe even China, which has an enormous appetite for free content and an ambition to produce much of that in China. However, Google has had disagreements with the Chinese government over censorship issues, so the government may tilt the scales in favor of its own online video services.

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