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Lionsgate Flexes YouTube Fitness Channel

Lionsgate boasted that its dedicated YouTube fitness channel, BeFit, has garnered more than 1.5 million views in the past month, as one of about 100 new channels under the Google video site's $100 million initiative in original programming.

BeFit, launched in January 2012, has tallied nearly 3.7 million views to date, according to the website's counter.

YouTube last year embarked on the cable-like original-content strategy, aiming to provide what executives have described as a "clean, well-lighted" environment for online advertising inventory. Other partners include Hearst's Car and Driver Television, the Madonna-backed DanceOn (which has served 26 million views per month), The Onion News Network, WWE's Fan Nation, Clevver Media, Meredith, Varsity Pictures and ION Television.

The original programming on Lionsgate BeFit focuses on trends in fitness and features well-known trainers and brands, including Jillian Michaels, Jane Fonda, Denise Austin, Deepak Chopra and Tara Stiles as well as dance workouts based on ABC's Dancing with the Stars and the film Dirty Dancing.

The ad-supported channel already is expanding its content offerings, Lionsgate executive vice president of home entertainment marketing Anne Parducci said.

Viewership is growing by double-digit percentages every week, "and we believe that our ability to combine compelling original content and a broad and deep catalog of fitness brands positions us for long term success," Parducci said in a statement. The channel encompasses multiple workout styles including yoga, boot camp, Pilates, cardio and strength conditioning systems.

Lionsgate will expand the YouTube channel with "BeFit Club Hip Hop," a hip-hop dance fitness series, and Jane Fonda Prime Time Health, a show targeting baby boomers and older fitness enthusiasts.