Star maker Simon Cowell heads to YouTube to find new talent
By Belinda Goldsmith
LONDON (Reuters) - Talent show guru Simon Cowell is taking his popular television formula to find new stars seeking fast fame to YouTube, joining a growing trend of companies using the Internet to bypass traditional broadcasters.
Cowell, the mastermind behind global TV franchises "The X Factor" and "Got Talent", unveiled plans on Monday for the first global audition channel, called The You Generation, that will be launched in 26 countries on March 20.
Syco Entertainment, Cowell's joint venture with Sony Music, said it had teamed up with YouTube to run 26 fortnightly contests over the next year to give people the chance to upload audition videos showing their skills and win a cash prize.
"Our mission is to discover the world's next big YouTube stars and showcase their amazing and unique talents on The You Generation channel," they said in a joint statement.
YouTube, the video-sharing website set up in 2005, has become a new way to uncover talent, most notably launching the career of Canadian teen pop star Justin Bieber.
Organizers of the new YouTube channel said wannabe stars can upload videos in a list of categories, from make-up artists to style gurus, chefs to vocalists, adding that all submissions would be judged by Syco executives and relevant experts.
Every fortnight one winner will get a cash prize and become a finalist to win "an amazing grand prize". No further details were available but winners of Cowell's singing contest, "The X Factor", win a recording contract.
Up to 69,000 people had subscribed to the channel by Monday. Continued...