YouTube has announced an ambitious plan to create 40 new star-studded TV shows to compete with the likes of Netflix.

The new set of shows includes a roster of homegrown YouTube stars as well as a host of A-list celebrities including Kevin Hart and Katy Perry.

But the Google-owned video site offers something that the likes of Netflix and Amazon can't: It can release the new shows for free.

Some of the shows will be supported through advertising on videos just like normal YouTube content.


This means that users could see high quality, star studded shows cropping up on YouTube for free.

"Starting in 2016, we made the decision to take YouTube to the next level," YouTube said in an official blog post.

"We began making premium original content for our subscription service, YouTube Red, releasing 30 series and movies in just over a year."

Most of these new shows will be created by YouTube regulars rather than mainstream celebrities.

On top of the 30 series available only through YouTube Red, which costs around $10 per month, the site will offer half a dozen new shows through its standard free service.

Last night, at the video giant's BrandCast event in New York, YouTube chief business officer Robert Kyncl announced that celebrities such as Ellen DeGeneres, Demi Lovato and Kevin Hart are creating shows for the platform.

On stage at New York's Javits Center, Hart revealed he is creating a series called Laugh Out Loud.

The show will give future comedians and actors a chance to create their own content and comedy.


Speaking during the event, Hart said he's also creating a fitness show called What the Fit.

New show Katy Perry Live Special will "take you inside of her world", a live listen-along to the pop star's new album.

And talk show host Ellen DeGeneres will host a twice-a-week series that gives fans behind the scenes access to some of the biggest stars and her favourite moments.

The new shows come as part of YouTube's push to repair their reputation after a scandal in March revealed that adverts for big brands were appearing on controversial videos.

Advertisers began to flee YouTube after The Times and other media outlets found evidence that their brands were appearing alongside clips promoting terrorism and racism.

The findings alerted advertisers that YouTube didn't have adequate technology or staffing to shield brands from some of the appalling material.

At one point, about 250 advertisers were boycotting YouTube.

The list included big-spending marketers such as PepsiCo, Wal-Mart Stores, Starbucks, AT&T, Verizon, Johnson & Johnson, and Volkswagen.

During her opening remarks last night, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki apologised to the hundreds of marketers in the audience.

"We apologise for letting some of you down," she said.

"Thank you for helping us become a stronger and better platform."