Over the past few years, YouTube has experimented with producing TV shows for its premium customers with varying levels of success. Now, following a report from last year which claimed those shows would end up available for free, it looks like YouTube is axing some of its existing series and no longer accepting pitches for new programs.
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Update: YouTube has commented on the Bloomberg report, denying the claim that the platform’s “high-end” originals have been canceled. Apparently, the YouTube Premium model will remain the same and “several scripted projects” are currently in development.
As the Bloomberg report mentions, YouTube does confirm that they are opening up original content to ad-supported viewers and will be unveiling a slate of new and returning originals “in the coming weeks.
YouTube denies the report, pointing to its full and robust slate that has several scripted projects in development. Furthermore, YouTube says it is steadily building its SVOD business, while also developing new series and formats that will appeal to a global audience through a new ad-supported model that will be in place for all of our series and events by the end of the year. They are expected to unveil a new slate of new and returning hits in the coming weeks.
Bloomberg reports this week that YouTube has recently stopped accepting pitches for new “high-end” series for Premium subscribers.
While sources aren’t named directly, it’s mentioned that YouTube has also canceled some of its existing series such as the sci-fi drama “Origin” and comedy “Overthinking with Kat & June.” Apparently, showrunners are looking for new homes for those shows. It’s unclear what other shows will bite the dust, but the report mentions that YouTube is in negotiations for a third season of the hit “Cobra Kai.” New seasons of “Impulse” and other originals are already in the pipeline and will presumably still air.
This lines up closely with what was expected after a report from last November. At the time, YouTube’s CBO Robert Kyncl acknowledged that the shift to a free model for this sort of content would probably put a pause on buying new shows and possibly even this pullback of scripted content. At the time, though, he said it was “far too early” to know for sure. As that report mentioned and Bloomberg reiterates, much of YouTube’s current series will end up free for users and be ad-supported.
Today’s report further details that YouTube executive Susanne Daniels is apparently looking to move on. Daniels, who has led YouTube’s original productions since 2015, did mention in an email, though, that she is “committed to YouTube and can’t wait to unveil” new and returning shows. Apparently, the focus going forward for YouTube’s originals is no longer to battle the likes of Netflix or Amazon, both of which far outspend YouTube, but rather on original shows such as Kevin Hart’s “What the Fit.”
More on YouTube:
- Future YouTube Originals will be free to watch in return to ad-supported model
- YouTube apparently makes up nearly 40% of mobile web traffic, dwarfing closest competition
- Report: YouTube TV now has over 1 million subscribers in the U.S.