Technology & Science

YouTube Canada launches

Popular video-sharing website YouTube launched a Canadian version at an event in Toronto on Tuesday. Company officials said the new site will give Canadian users the chance to increase their exposure.

Popular video-sharing website YouTube launched a Canadian version at an event in Toronto on Tuesday. Company officials said the new site will give Canadian users the chance to increase their exposure.

"We're very excited to bring a local version of YouTube to Canada, and are committed to continuing to improve the YouTube experience for our Canadian users," YouTube CEO and co-founder Chad Hurley said in a release. "Our goal is to satisfy the unique needs of the local users and to further strengthen Canada's vibrant YouTube community."

In a blog entry, titled "Hello, Canada!"the YouTube team wrote that some of the site's top users areCanadian, and"in developing a territory-specific YouTube site, we wanted to bring YouTube to you, in your language, while making local talent more visible and getting closer to our users around the world."

YouTube.ca will feature content from Sony BMG Canada, the Canadian Football League and the CBC.

The CBC has been showcasing content on YouTube.com since March, including clips from The Rick Mercer Report and Royal Canadian Air Farce, as well as short films and archival footage.

"YouTube exposes our content to a huge number of viewers that we wouldn't have access to on any other platform," said Sharon Hanson, who works in digital programming and business development at the CBC.

Further CBC content, from shows such as Little Mosque on the Prairie and The Tudors, may be coming, but that depends on negotiating rights, she said.

Hanson said it will be easier for Canadians to find made-in-Canada content on YouTube.ca.

"What happens in the current environment is that Canadian content gets lost, whether it's on the internet or other digital platforms," she said.

Luis Garcia, international product manager for YouTube, said the content on both YouTube.com and YouTube.ca will be the same, but thenew site will promote Canadian submissions.

"The only thing that's different is that this is just a Canadian lens into that content, so if a user wants to get the Canada point of view into that global body of content, then they're able to do that," he said.

For launch day, the company asked Canadian user TheWineKone to make a video promoting Canada. The welcome video, boasting a mere 39 views at announcement time andlabelled with a "YouTube is now in Canada!" banner, documents TheWineKone's failed search for Canadian flags waving in the wind. Instead, he finds them hanging limply, and after a minute-and-a-half declares, "YouTube Canada's the place to be!"

Other featured videos include "Canada vs. America: who has cuter kittens?," a music video from Vancouver indie-rock band Said the Whale and a submission called "Canada … What does it mean to you?" where a user asked 18 peoplearound the world what they thought about Canada.

In addition to allowing Canadian users the chance to increase their exposure, the site will enable them to better connect with one another, Garcia said.

"Connectivity is another great benefit," said Garcia. "Users who have garnered a worldwide audience on YouTube sometimes have gotten lost in terms of being able to find like-minded users or like-minded content providers who are geographically close," he said.

YouTube has already signed agreements with Canadian content partners including the CBC, the CFL, Dose.ca, NewsCanada and Sony BMG Canada.

The Canadian site is one of 15 country-specific YouTube sites.

With files from the Canadian Press

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