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Google Goes Hollywood: Big Machers Recruited For Original YouTube Content

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Image mashup by Lisa Brenner, Original photo by Brian Bubonic
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Google is going Hollywood and "enlisting top stars to supply original content for YouTube in a bid to boost profits and user engagement at the company’s online video site," reports the Financial Times. For lending their name to specialized channels and/or overseeing content (think: themes, niches, games, fashion, food, etc.), Google is reportedly offering top tier talent big cash advances against future ad revenue.

The aim is to generate better CPMs - the cost per thousand ad impressions - for the advertising on YouTube, said a person familiar with the situation. “Despite the growth in viewership, YouTube is still struggling to monetise in a meaningful way. They are trying to professionalise their content to get the attention of Madison Avenue.”

Creative Artists Agency, International Creative Management, United Talent Agency, and William Morris Endeavor Entertainment have reportedly been approached with an outline of the plan. However, notes FT, "people briefed on the situation stressed that YouTube, the world’s biggest online video site with more than 2bn views per day, was not seeking to move away from its roots as the home of user-generated content."

Recently, Google acquired Next New Networks and hired a team of Hollywood experienced executives. “YouTube is more focused and they have a better plan than they have had in the last five years,” said one film executive pitched to by Google, reports the Financial Times. YouTube reportedly made of $825m in revenue in 2010 and is forecast to generate $1.3bn in 2011.