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Each day we watch nearly a billion hours of YouTube videos, with an astonishing 400 hours of content uploaded every minute. Some reports suggest the video streaming site might even overtake TV viewership by 2020. However, YouTube is not happy with simply owning a monopoly on stupid videos, YouTube wants to go head-to-head with TV and streaming services with new original content.

In an attempt to compete with the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu, YouTube has unveiled plans to produce original content with some of TV’s biggest names. But, unlike Netflix, YouTube’s originals will be completely free to watch, supported by adverts in a bold move for the Google-owned company that has been struck by plenty of recent controversy.

YouTube will be producing content which is less House of Cards and more light-hearted entertainment. All the new shows are attached to celebrities, with comedian Kevin Hart and Ellen DeGeneres set to kick things off. Katy Perry, Demi Lovato and Ryan Seacrest also all have content in the works.

The new programming is not associated with YouTube Red, the company’s current platform for original paid content. Instead, these originals will have a home, or several homes, each being found on a star’s YouTube channel. Hart’s amply named workout show What The Fit will be found on his Laugh Out Loud Network.

The new content will be less about YouTube audacious pranksters and more about A-list Hollywood. If you’ve ever wanted to see behind the scenes at Ellen, YouTube is set to offer just that in the new content. Katy Perry and Demi Lovato will similarly offer backstage shows, while Ryan Seacrest will deliver a singing contest titled “Best. Cover. Ever”.

YouTube announced its ambitions at NewFronts, the New York-based conference for digital content creators. While the plans currently only boast six free-to-watch shows, a Bloomberg report revealed YouTube is going big on original content. The company is said to be committing millions to new programs, giving YouTube Red productions HBO-level budgets.

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Scott Hart