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 The X Factor and Got Talent shows, announced that the first global audition channel, The You Generation, will be launched today.
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 and win a cash prize.
YouTube has become the new way to uncover talent, most notably launching the career of Justin Bieber. Wannabe stars can upload videos in a list of categories, from make-up artists to style gurus and chefs to vocalists.
All submissions will be judged by Syco executives and 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, get a recording contract.
The YouTube star search came after Cowell saw ratings of some of his shows start to slide and acknowledged that more people were consuming content on demand via YouTube, a trend being fuelled by internet-connected TVs.
Amazon.com Inc, Google Inc’s YouTube, Yahoo and Microsoft Corp are setting up shop in Hollywood to produce or license their own series.