After almost six years, the YouTube Originals program is set to shut down in favor of more investment in growing areas of the video streaming platform.
Despite streaming video demand increasing year over year, the decision was confirmed by YouTube’s chief business officer Robert Kyncl via Twitter. In an extended post on the social network, Kyncl confirmed that global head of original content Susanne Daniels’s decision to leave YouTube was a factor in this decision.
However, Kyncl did note that YouTube Originals investments will be made available in other areas to make “a greater impact on even more creators. These include the growing Creator Shorts Fund for the TikTok short-form vertical video competitor, Black Voices Fund, YouTube Kids, and Live Shopping:
In his post, Kyncl also highlights that over 2 million creators are now eligible for the YouTube Partner Program. This sees creators paid via the AdSense platform for ads placed before, during, and after eligible video content. According to this post, the Partner Program has paid out over $30 billion to eligible partners over the past three years. It could be that this is one of the major reasons that YouTube Originals has been deemed surplus to requirements.
A move away from original programming is disappointing but a sensible decision for a platform that has been built upon independent video production, free distribution, and hosting. We have seen a number of popular series such as Cobra Kai crop up and perform admirably before being dropped, but it’s hard to compete with the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime given that YouTube works best as a video platform rather than a publisher.
This could, hopefully, also mean a greater share or allocation of YouTube Premium subscription fee funding for content creators on YouTube rather than as a production incentive for Originals content aimed at smaller audiences. Google’s ruthless approach to projects that it deems unnecessary can still seem jarring, as it does in this case. Banking on short-form video is also a big play, with the Shorts Creator Fund hinting that YouTube sees TikTok as the biggest competitor within its online video space.
More on YouTube:
- YouTube Music grew over 50% in 12 months and ‘particularly resonates’ with Gen Z
- YouTube TV adds toggle to sort your ‘most watched’ channels
- YouTube Premium & Music get annual subscription plans, discounted pricing ends this week
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