YouTube to Launch 25 New Professionally-Created Content Channels?

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Not content going head-to-head with Netflix and iTunes by offering streaming video-on-demand movie rentals, YouTube is rumored to be close to announcing a $150-million plan to unveil multiple new channels of all-original content in the hopes of becoming a rival to major television networks

The project, which according to Deadline New York may be officially announced by the end of this month, is expected to “redefine” YouTube as a destination for professionally-produced content from some of television’s most respected producers in an attempt to lure more advertisers to the site.

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Rumors place the number of channels around 25, with the Hollywood Reporter naming companies like Warner Bros., BermanBraun and FremantleMedia as potential partners for the project.

Other names linked include, oddly enough, skateboarder Tony Hawk, suggesting that this project may have some overlap with the idea of YouTube’s “celebrity channels” that was floated at the start of the year (In fact, the rumored budget-per-channel for both projects is the same: $5 million). The new channels are expected to go live at the start of 2012.

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Graeme McMillan is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @Graemem or on Facebook at Facebook/Graeme.McMillan. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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