Google is officially giving up on YouTube Originals
YouTube Premium was first introduced in October 2015 (then known as ‘YouTube Red’), which removed advertising on YouTube videos (while still paying the creators) for a monthly subscription. YouTube also started producing exclusive high-budget content to attract subscribers, known as YouTube Originals, to make the service more competitive with Netflix and other streaming platforms. YouTube Originals never really took off, and now it’s shutting down.
Robert Kyncl, the Chief Business Officer at YouTube, announced on Tuesday (via Android Police) that YouTube Originals was coming to an end. They said in a tweet, “our investments can make a greater impact on even more creators when applied towards other initiatives, like our Creator Shorts Fund, Black Voices Fund, and Live Shopping programming to name a few. Separately, [Susanne Daniels] has decided to leave YouTube and her last day will be March 1. […] Together, these factors contributed to our decision to reduce our YouTube Originals slate.”
YouTube will still complete any shows already in production, but after that point, the only Originals content will be content funded through the Black Voices and YouTube Kids Funds — no more big-budget series or movies.
YouTube Originals produced a mix of dramas, comedies, and reality series, as well as content from larger creators that wasn’t too different from what they uploaded normally (such as Marques Brownlee/MKBHD’s ‘Retro Tech’ and JacksFilms’ ‘YIAY Time’). A few films were also labelled as YouTube Originals, most of which were received poorly. The Thinning with Logan Paul earned a score of 62% on Rotten Tomatoes, Maryam Keshavarz’s Viper Club is sitting at 38%, and so on. Scare PewDiePie, the first original series, ended production before the second season could be filmed after Felix Kjellberg (PewDiePie) became embroiled in various controversies.
The best success story for YouTube Originals might be Cobra Kai, a comedy-drama series that served as a sequel to the original The Karate Kid films. The show received significant praise when the first season was released in 2018, and it was acquired by Netflix in 2020. Netflix is currently producing a fifth season.