Treading back on its idea of paid-content, YouTube has unveiled its nine new original programs that will be available for free viewing this year. The announcement was made on May 2, at a YouTube event for advertisers and media in New York.
Why original content?
YouTube’s core business relies on the advertisements. And YouTube now wants to align the original content arm with the overall business.
There have been numerous debates if ad sales alone could be enough to generate a return on investment, especially for the expensive scripted shows. The arrival of the new programs also comes amid the mounting pressure of advertisers on YouTube to increase its supply of television-like content which may be suitable for sponsorship.
In 2018, it streamed over a dozen original shows and movies to target subscribers in France, Germany, India, South Korea, and Japan.
A person familiar with the development has said that YouTube is seeking to broaden its audience for original programming. In fact, half of its development-budget for programs is aimed to tap the viewers outside the United States.
The original content will include the following programs:
– A documentary on Dude Perfect, a group that performs sports tricks on YouTube
– An interactive series featuring YouTube-star Mark Fischbach who allows viewers to control the storyline
– An investigation by media startup Vox
– A set of standalone films from The School of Life channel on YouTube
– An international slate
More programs are expected to be announced later in the year.
Announcements have been made for two projects for next year also. It includes a secret project with singer Justin Bieber and a documentary on model Paris Hilton.
Why free content?
The question is an apparent one. When every media company is busy building a paywall, why is YouTube heading in an opposite direction?
Well, YouTube says that it is still testing the content with subscribers.
YouTube has debuted about 75 shows and 28 films under this strategy. Thirteen of those shows went onto become a multiple-season series. Though some shows got significant viewership for sample meant for free-viewing, they did not come back because they couldn’t convert users into subscribers.
YouTube says that it will stream all episodes of the next season of Cobra Kai for its subscribers when it launches. The Non-subscribers would gain access to one new episode per week, how a viewer gets to see a show on traditional television. The company says that it will keep the new episodes of a few existing shows for subscribers-only due to prior business commitments.