YouTube has reprogrammed its website to make it easier for viewers to
find and watch their favorite channels.The facelift, unveiled Thursday,
is the latest step in YouTube's attempt to make the Internet's most
popular video site as easy to navigate and as compelling to watch as
cable TV. In the process, YouTube owner Google Inc. hopes to make money selling ads.
As part of the redesign, YouTube is replacing its staid white background with a touch of gray.
changes are part of the biggest renovation that YouTube has undertaken
since Google bought the site for $1.76 billion five years ago.
Google has been steadily adding more frills to YouTube since that
acquisition, the videos on the site often were stitched in a crazy quilt
that often required visitors to do a lot of searching to find what they
Google also has been sprucing up other products in recent months, including its Gmail service and news section.
YouTube's website has been reorganized to display three main vertical columns instead of scattering clips in horizontal rows.
left of the page is devoted to a column that can be customized to
feature a viewer's favorite channels and monitor the videos being posted
by their friends on social networks, including Facebook — a rival to
Google's own Plus service.
The effort to
highlight channels comes a few weeks after YouTube agreed to invest $100
million in original programming from about 100 celebrities, media
companies and video entrepreneurs. Most of these channels will debut
next year. YouTube hopes additional advertising will enable it to reap a
profit from the investment.
The middle of
YouTube's new home page is where videos can be played. The selection
will change as viewers click on a different channel included in their
lists in the left column. The far right column will recommend other
videos, based on what kind of clips that viewers have watched in the
Bringing more professionally-produced
content and more organization to YouTube has become more important since
last year's introduction of Google TV—
an attempt to seamlessly blend conventional television programming with
Web surfing. YouTube's more streamlined look might make the site more
attractive to watch on large-screen TVs using Google's product or other
connections to the Internet.
Google TV has
struggled so far, partly because major Hollywood networks such as News
Corp.'s Fox and The Walt Disney's ABC have blocked their content from
the platform because they think it will undercut their advertising
revenue and fees from pay-TV distributors such as Comcast and DirecTV.