Bleacher Report launching four original sports shows on YouTube

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YouTube is getting more original programming, this time from Bleacher Reports, an Internet site that draws more than 25 million monthly unique users and focuses on, obviously, sports.

The company today is launching B/R 5, which will be available weekdays and focus on the five most buzzworthy sports stories of the day.

Later this week, it plans to roll out NFL Draft 365, providing a weekly update throughout the year of the NFL Draft. Each weekly episode will include a current or former NFL player as a guest analyst, starting with Pittsburgh Steelers' QB Charlie Batch. Regular features will include a War Room segment with Bleacher Report NFL Draft lead writer Matt Miller, in-depth profiles on top draft prospects and candid memories from current and former NFL stars on their draft experiences.

Also coming available this week is Why We Watch, featuring short form sports documentaries that focus on a narrative unique to the sports landscape, be it a small story with major significance or a fresh new angle on a well-known event. Initial subjects include female auto racing pioneer Janet Guthrie and Robin Ficker, the NBA's most notorious heckler.

In March, Bleacher Report will debut Full Ride, a weekly show serving information, opinion and analysis about the college football recruiting scene.

The quartet of new shows is aimed at a burgeoning class of viewers, said Dave Nemetz, Bleacher Report's co-founder and VP of video programming and production.

"Video is great platform for us in delivering content to today's connected viewer looking for information around the teams and topics that fans care most about," he said. "These original programs are a reflection of that commitment and we strongly believe that users will get an enhanced experience from these shows."

YouTube also is continuing to roll out new channels as part of its push to develop into a destination for more original content.

Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG) YouTube long has been rumored to want to mold itself into more of an Internet-based cable company. The video site is ponying up $100 million to roll out a slew of free channels with professional-quality video.

YouTube believes that its bargain ad rates--they're lower than sites like Hulu, for example--and targeted advertising format are ideal for such a venture. The property, which Google bought for $1.6 billion in 2006, is offering advertisers opportunities to sponsor programming directly, and may allow content partners to sell ads as well.

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