YouTube is exiting the original programming business. This decision puts an end to a six-year experiment of creation of television programs.
Susanne Daniels, the global head of original programs will step down on March 1. As a reminder, she had developed programs such as Cobra Kai and On Becoming A God In Central Florida, eventually resold to Netflix and Showtime, respectively.
“YouTube Originals has been a vital part of growing YouTube’s creator economy,” said Robert Kyncl, chief commercial officer, in a statement posted on Twitter. ” However, […] our investments can have a greater impact on even more creators when applied to other initiatives.”
Supporting Black Creators and Children’s Programs
In a letter to creators on Tuesday, YouTube said it wanted to evolve the catalog of programs on offer.
“Going forward, we will only fund programs that are part of our Black Voices and YouTube Kids funds,” said Robert Kyncl, chief commercial officer of YouTube, in a letter to creators. In all, thanks to a program launched in 2020, the company has $100 million. A sum that will be devoted to children’s programming and to improving the perspective of black artists.
The Alphabet Inc.-owned company also hopes to invest in Shorts, a feature designed to rival TikTok.
End clap for YouTube Originals
Susan Daniels started running YouTube Originals in 2016, when the platform started paying for Hollywood productions and launching shows. For example, a spin-off of the hit movie The Karate Kid or the series Cobra Kai, transferred to Netflix last year.
When they launched, the complete productions were only available with a subscription to the YouTube Red streaming service, which later became YouTube Premium. In 2019, YouTube finally made all of its original content available for free. Since then, content has been financed by advertising.
With a wide range of original content, YouTube hoped to compete with other broadcasters such as Netflix.
No problem for current broadcasts
Last year, the platform announced the production of new programs. Most notably, these were series with Will Smith and Alicia Keys. Thus, the announcement of the end of funding for original programs could worry more than one. But do not panic.
In his announcement on Tuesday, Robert Kyncl reassured, “we will honor our commitment for the shows already contracted in progress and the creators who are involved in these shows should expect to hear from us in the days to come”.