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YouTube's New Design Targets TV

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CNBC.com

YouTube viewers spend an average of 15 minutes a day on the site, while TV viewers spend an average of 5 hours glued to the tube. Today Google unveiled a new design for YouTube and its "channels" to help close the gap and make YouTube like cable TV for the digital age.

The new YouTube homepage and "channels" aims to provide more of a "lean back experience." The new site encourages users to watch multiple videos on the same channel surfing between similar channels. Users can even set up a custom remote control of sorts -- a YouTube channel lineup.

Today's changes build on YouTube's October announcement of 100 new channelsfrom professional content partners, ranging from 'The Onion' to 'WWE.' This new look aims to catch up the viewing experience with the viewing options. This polished look should appeal to advertisers and help bring YouTube away from its sleeping cat video roots.

YouTube has said repeatedly it's not trying to compete with TV, that it's complementary, but there's no denying that YouTube is competing for consumers time. These "channels" aren't mainstream like Cable TV -- they're far more niche versions. But as all content becomes more fragmented, super-targeted channels will likely become increasingly appealing to viewers and advertisers.

The question is whether all this professional content online will encourage consumers to "cut the cord" from satellite and cable TV subscriptions.

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