Posted on Tuesday, November 27th, 2018 by Jacob Hall
The good news: from next year, YouTube will remove all of the original content behind the Premium paywall, allowing users to take advantage of a supported version of advertising programs like Cobra Kai. The bad news: This move also means that YouTube will not be investing in so many scripted shows, instead of focusing on projects driven by YouTube stars and celebrities.
In an official statement (via Variety), YouTube has associated all of this in vague language type that includes phrases like "global fan base" and "YouTube generation" and so on:
"As we look at 2019, we will continue to invest in scripting and change programming to make the YouTube Originals ad compatible with the growing demand for a more global fan base. This next phase of our original strategy will expand the audience of our Original YouTube content creators and provide advertisers with incredible content that reaches the YouTube generation. "
If you read between the lines, you'll have a clear idea of what happened here – YouTube Premium is not exactly lighting the world, so everyone involved is rethinking the kind of content they want to create and how they want to serve their billion-dollar audience. After all, Cobra Kai was incredibly well received when it arrived earlier this year, but other YouTube originals fell with a thud. Someone is talking about his new science fiction series, Source? Nah
Of course, that does not mean that television with script is dead on YouTube. Earlier this year, they renewed Impulse, Step Up: High Water, Mental Field, Quartet, Ryan Hansen solves TV crime, Kevin Hart: What Set You Up and Cobra Kai. And with the incredible Full bodied debuting on YouTube this week, YouTube has already invested in presenting one of the best films of 2018. The original YouTube is not dead – it's just changing. It's getting back to basics, really.
The Variety report indicates that YouTube's future programming will focus more on YouTube stars, creating programming with creators who have used the YouTube platform to create original content and create their own audience. And that may be the right choice – in a streaming market as crowded as that of powerhouses like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime, YouTube has something they do not have. They have strange and eccentric creators that cater to all kinds of tastes that you will not find anywhere else. Cobra Kai, while a good show and well received, could air anywhere. Some of YouTube's most eclectic content seems unique and specific to your home.
So once again we are dealing with a "some good, some bad" situation. Too bad YouTube Premium is not pulling the numbers to support a huge library of scripted content, but at least everyone can check out the original shows, even with a few ads. It's a shame they're cutting out the scripted work, but I follow incredible creators on YouTube to know that investing in these smaller and cheaper personalities will yield dividends if they are properly crafted (I do my best to pretend that "Stars" like Logan Paul YouTube is not going anywhere and it will be fascinating to see how they coexist in an increasingly busy market where everyone who already has a streaming service sells to us.
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