Simon Cowell tells TBI YouTube will rival TV broadcasters

TV impresario Simon Cowell has told TBI that he thinks YouTube will begin to sit alongside regular TV channels as the number of people watching videos continues to increase.

In an exclusive interview with the Syco Entertainment boss and Syco’s head of international George Levendis, the pair also reveal plans to move into scripted TV for the first time.

Speaking about YouTube, Cowell says: “There is no question that it won’t be long until YouTube will be an alternative to a traditional broadcaster and they get it, we get it. They’ve definitely got the money.

“I’m thinking personally when we get to that point, which isn’t in the too distant future where we are going to be able to watch TV and YouTube and it will be channel six. I think when we reach that point they are going to be serious competition.”

Cowell’s own shows have had a huge number of hits on the Google-owned video site; Britain’s Got Talent and The X Factor UK both have more than one billion views each on their channels.

Cowell and Syco want to harness the huge marketing potential the Google-owned platform offers.

He says: “YouTube is now our best sales agent for the show. It was like free promotion, I loved it. I always encouraged the broadcasters to allow YouTube to post whatever they wanted because it’s basically free promotion for us across the rest of the world,” he says.

Separately, Syco is moving into drama.

The company is best known for creating hit international formats including Got Talent and The X Factor. At MIPCOM, the company will launch ITV cooking format Food, Glorious, Food in association with Optomen International. Meanwhile, it has acquired the rights to a literary property and is in talks to adapt it as its first scripted series.

Syco’s Levendis tells TBI: “Simon read a particular book and the next day bought the rights. This is one that Simon is very excited about. It’s our first move into scripted.”

The full interview with Cowell and Levendis is in the upcoming issue of TBI.

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