YouTube unveiled a new look for its homepage last night, with a
greater emphasis on channels and a refreshed colour scheme.

The update, which we revealed last month, allows users
to create their own line up of channels, and provides better integration with Google+ and Facebook to see what friends are watching.

YouTube says the channels are designed to bring a broader range of entertainment to users, but also provide advertisers with a new way to engage with a global audience.

The main additions include a link in the top left-hand corner that allows users to save their favourite channels, and new templates for content creators to use. 

Online video strategist Steffan Aquarone said that YouTube’s redesign is a move towards making the site more like a traditional TV broadcaster.

It hasn’t changed the user interface, it is really just a tweak of the homepage to change the way users browse the site. The motivation is probably to make TV-originated content a more central part of the browsing experience.”

Aquarone also said that YouTube is moving towards commissioning its own content alongside TV episodes from the likes of Channel 4, so the redesign shows that it’s keen to position itself as a destination for longer-form online entertainment.

Long-form video is predicted to be the biggest areas of growth in online video – TDG estimates it will make up nearly 70% of online video by 2013.

Furthermore, Google’s recent acquisition of Motorola - which manufactures set top boxes, means we could soon be seeing Android integrated with TV. This would allow YouTube to become another attractive option for viewing.

But despite YouTube’s suggestion that channels offer advertisers a better way to engage with a global audience, this could make it more difficult for brands to gain exposure on YouTube.

It is more beneficial for companies to host video content on their own site, since this gives them greater control over the user experience. YouTube’s commercial interest is driving PPC revenue.”

YouTube has released an instruction manual and video to introduce users to the new site. Unusually though, the video (shown below) has a different colour scheme to the actual site.