YouTube is continuing to expand its video enterprise with several new free, ad-supported programs in the works from stars such as Kevin Hart, Katy Perry and Ellen DeGeneres.
At a presentation Thursday in New York, the Net video giant also announced other shows with singer Demi Lovato, actor/rapper Ludacris and YouTube stars Rhett & Link and The Slow Mo Guys. All of the shows, due later this year, will appear on YouTube.
Actor/comedian Hart will host a show called Kevin Hart: What's the Fit in which he and celebrity friends test out new, rigorous workouts. The show, Hart said, will take "physical fitness and make it fun. ... doing things you wouldn’t expect me to do like hot yoga, pilates, working out with Marines and show people the different levels of working out. I thank (YouTube) for the opportunity, and it’s a big deal."
Perry, who performed at the announcement event, will participate in a live special on the eve of her upcoming album and will also appear on Best.Cover.Ever, a singing competition show hosted and executive-produced by Ludacris and produced by Ryan Seacrest and Endemol Shine (The Biggest Loser, Big Brother). Also on the show: Lovato, Charlie Puth, Jason Derulo and Backstreet Boys.
The other shows announced:
►I Am: Demi Lovato: The year leading up to the release of her new album.
►Ellen’s Show Me More Show: Twice weekly, TV host DeGeneres will offer behind the scenes access from her syndicated daily talk show.
►The Super Slow Show: YouTube stars The Slow Mo Guys get their own series to explore slow motion takes on celebrities, music and other topics.
►Good Mythical Morning: Rhett & Link, hosts of YouTube’s most popular daily show, get a new series to deliver more stunts and comic fun.
All of the series will be part of YouTube's Google Preferred content, on which advertisers can place ads on content.
YouTube has had some issues recently with many advertisers pulling their business after their ads ran with offensive and extremist content. Subsequently, YouTube put in place some measures to help prevent ads from hitting unsavory videos.
These new ad-supported, free video shows will help offset the Net video industry's move toward subscription-based content, says Robert Kyncl, YouTube's chief business officer. Five years ago, 85% of all original series were ad-supported, but that has reduced to two-thirds, he says. "That shift is accelerating," he said. "So we see these shows as a way for us to partner with (advertisers) to buck this trend."
He noted that Johnson & Johnson, in addition to becoming the exclusive sponsor of Best.Cover.Ever, also made a major investment in Google Preferred.
This is just YouTube's latest expansion into new video options. YouTube TV recently began offering more than 40 channels for $35 monthly.
And two years ago, the YouTube Red subscription service ($9.99 monthly) with ad-free original shows including Buddy System from Rhett and Link.
Follow USA TODAY reporter Mike Snider on Twitter: @MikeSnider.
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