Google is planning an extensive redesign of YouTube to give advertisers more prominence on the video sharing site, according to industry insiders.
It is understood that millions of video clips on the site will be filtered into four categories. Movies, Music and Shows will be home to premium content from professional producers, while Videos will group together YouTube's archive of user-generated clips.
The redesign will also introduce a new video-player featuring indicators on the red progress bar showing the point at which in-stream ads will play during each clip. The new user interface will also allow users to 'dim the lights' on the screen surrounding the video player to enhance the viewing experience.
According to ClickZ, the new-look YouTube will go live in mid-April. Google has been pitching launch packages to agencies for the past six weeks, in the hope to get big brand advertisers signed up for launch.
A spokesman for Google refused to comment.
The redesign marks Google latest attempt to generate revenue from YouTube, which it acquired in 2006 for $165 billion (£970m). As well as ramping up the site's ad offering, Google recently announced plans to allow users to pay to download video content to their desktop or MP3 player. It is also introducing a 'click-to-buy' e-commerce service that will allow users to purchase products that appear in video clips.
Separately, Google is also believed to be negotiating a licensing deal with Disney, which will see clips from ESPN and ABC made available on the site. The partnership will see Disney and Google share revenue, with Disney making in-stream ad inventory available for YouTube to sell.
YouTube recorded a 17 per cent year-on-year increase in users in January 2009, clocking up 23.5 million viewers, according to the latest figures from comScore.
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