YouTube developing free original shows with Kevin Hart, Ellen DeGeneres & others

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Possibly concerned about the growing amount of original video on competiting services like Netflix, Hulu, and Apple Music, Google's YouTube has announced plans to premiere six new shows, starring people like Ellen DeGeneres and comedian Kevin Hart.

While DeGeneres will simply offer a behind-the-scenes look at her talk show, Hart will star in "What the Fit," in which he tries different workouts along with celebrity guests, reported.

Ryan Seacrest will meanwhile take charge of "Best.Cover.Ever," a music competition. Established YouTube celebrities Rhett & Link will expand on "Good Mythical Morning" with more guests, correspondents, and challenges, while a series with singer Demi Lovato will cover the writing and recording of a new album.

YouTube is planning to fund over 40 original shows and movies in the next year at a cost of hundreds of millions, one Bloomberg source said.

The company is also said to be spending more money on content for YouTube Red, which on top of original shows offers ad-free viewing, offline and background playback, and a Google Play Music subscription. The Bloomberg source indicated that YouTube has been talking with partners about Red shows budgeted between $3 million and $6 million per hour, on par with what some HBO and Showtime productions cost.

That could make Red more competitive with services like Netflix and Hulu, which spend HBO-like budgets on shows such as "Stranger Things" and "The Handmaid's Tale." Red has so far relied on the appeal of independent creators, and simply being able to use YouTube uninterrupted.

Apple's video efforts are still in early stages. The company is expected to have up to 10 shows and documentaries by the end of 2017, including "Carpool Karaoke," "Planet of the Apps," and films about Bad Boy Records, Clive Davis, and Cash Money Records. "iOS 11" may even feature a redesigned Music app designed to highlight video.


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