YouTube Video Extravaganza Continues With Motor Trend Channel

In Hollywood, $100 million will buy you about half of a Jerry Bruckheimer action movie. But YouTube (NSDQ: GOOG) is spreading that sum out to launch more than 100 new video content channels this year, with the hope that one of these inexpensive video plays will become the kind of mass-audience hit that moves ad dollars away from TV and onto the Internet. Now nearly a third of the way through, by its own estimation, with the rollout of its full array of video channels, the company on Wednesday announced a new offering themed around the popular car-enthusiast brand Motor Trend.

Co-produced with Motor Trend Magazine publisher Source Interlink Media (SIM), the channel will launch Feb. 17 with eight original weekly shows unfurling on a Monday-Friday schedule.

The series will be themed around SIM brands including not just Motor Trend, but also Hot Rod, Motorcyclist, Lowrider, FourWheeler, Dirt Rider and Car Craft.

Motor Trend is just the latest publishing brand to use YouTube’s seed money to launch a video channel on the platform.

Previous channel announcements have included online video platforms for The Wall Street Journal and Reuters (NYSE: TRI), for example.

For Google-owned YouTube, which is trying to transition its model from user-generated video to a more “premium” experience, leveraging the talent and production wherewithal of individual publishing companies which are not traditionally vested in video production could ultimately produce uneven results.

But in the case of SIM, YouTube isn’t exactly working with rank amateurs. While it’s re-launching Motor Trend as an official channel with dedicated weekly programs, the company has quietly operated a less formal channel for the brand for the last six years. “This was the next logial step for SIM as it continues its transformation from legacy magazine publishing business to a media-neutral content creation company,” said Motor Trend channel executive producer Angus MacKenzie.