60% of the YouTube “Original Channels” Are Being Cancelled

And you thought TV networks were ruthless!

A little less than a year ago YouTube started approximately 160 “YouTube Original Channels” to encourage major interweb players to make their own videos, load ’em up on YouTube, and split the cut with them.

The idea was to compete with cable and network programming and, of course, show the world the interweb could do it better, both in terms of quality and pulling in bucks. In fact, YouTube committed $200 million for marketing alone.

Now, though, it looks as though 60% of the channels are going to be dropped. According to the ‘Tube, the decision is going to be based on how much watch time the channels get relative to their cost. Which, to us, doesn’t make the situation any different from the old traditional TV viewing model. Let’s face it, ratings by any other name are still, you know, ratings.

Of course, if the ‘Tube would, like, advertise the existence of these channels, they just might get a bit more watch time. Which brings up a question: If YouTube’s $200 million marketing investment isn’t going toward, well, toward marketing, then whose pockets is it actually filling up?