YouTube Originals scales back as it nears an end
YouTube is reducing its original programming division following the departure of Global Head of Originals Susanne Daniels.
Launched in 2016, YouTube Originals began life as a subscription service streaming ad-free series and films. However, faced with an already-crowded video-on-demand field, the Google-owned video platform soon changed tack.
In 2019, YouTube all but wiped its $12-per-month Premium slate clean, offering up several projects to other outlets; Cobra Kai landed on Netflix, On Becoming a God In Central Florida was acquired by Showtime, and Step Up aired on Starz. Instead, the company pivoted to original—free—unscripted content like music, celebrity and creator-focused originals, and educational programming.
Even those are ending soon, though, according to YouTube’s Robert Kyncl. In a Tuesday tweet, the chief business officer announced the end of YouTube Originals and its “award-winning” slate—save for a handful of in-progress programs. “YTO played an integral role in growing the YouTube creator economy,” he wrote, adding that more than $30 billion has been paid to creators, artists, and media companies over the last three years.
“However, with rapid growth comes new opportunities and now our investments can make a greater impact on even more creators when applied towards other initiatives,” Kyncl explained. Daniels’ exit also contributed to the decision to reduce YT Originals.
“What an exciting and tremendous experience I’ve had working to create meaningful programming for global users of all ages and backgrounds,” Daniels said in a statement published by Variety. “I’m so proud that our YTO content could contribute to the ongoing growth and success of this remarkable platform, and I look forward to new adventures ahead.”
YouTube plans to honor its commitment to already-contracted shows in progress, but, moving forward, will only pursue programs that are part of its Black Voices and YouTube Kids funds.