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BLOG: Will YouTube Ever Come Close to Rivaling Cable TV?

Google is spending more than $100 million to create original "channels" for YouTube, and this week it is expanding the model into Europe through deals with the BBC, FreemantleMedia, the Netherlands' Endemol and other media companies (see YouTube Preps 96 Channels With Original ContentYouTube Debuts Two Entertainment Channels and Lionsgate Flexes YouTube Fitness Channel).

Meanwhile, the Internet giant's stalled Google TV initiative is redoubling efforts to bring YouTube content to big-screen TVs, with the platform set to get enhancements for finding, managing and playing YouTube content through connected TVs and other devices.

But while the YouTube strategy mimics traditional cable TV in concept -- with a bouquet entertainment and news content targeted at specific audiences -- it's on a much, much smaller scale. It could take years before any online-only content attracts anything close to a TV-size audience, if that ever happens.

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