YouTube is increasing its original content production and is set to launch some 50 original shows next year for YouTube Premium, its new subscription service. The Premium service was rebranded from YouTube Red and has been launched in 17 markets, with around 20 foreign-language shows released including the successful title 'Cobra Kai'.
Speaking at a panel session at the Edinburgh TV Festival, head of originals EMEA Luke Hyams confirmed that the YouTube Premium service will debut “dozens of original shows” throughout 2019, including upcoming sci-fi horror series Origin, from the makers of The Crown.
Hyams said that YouTube will launch these 50 shows alongside its 65 existing originals and specials, in a variety of different ways, including making some episodes available for free – but the majority of the shows will be for subscribers only.
Hyams who joined from Disney last December, said the Premium offering needs to stand out from the free content already on the platform, and that their content commissioning strategy is global with content in one part of the world is expected to be popular outside of that region. Hyams talked about the content formats that he wants to commision for YouTube Premium, saying they will look to trial the best formats to hook audiences into paying for content including experimenting with live entertainment events.
Hyams said he is looking for unscripted titles that are celeb driven, “buzzy” and pop-culture driven saying, "We are looking for things that can only exist on Youtube." Hyams also said they will be seeking out content that creates social impact and brings focus on world issues.
YouTube’s premium service has so far announced an unscripted titled Sugar, featuring Maroon 5’s frontman Adam Levine and a documentary series on AI hosted by Robert Downey Jr. In the comedy genre, Hyams said YouTube will look at serialised half-hour formats rather than stand-up comedy programs.
“We’ve got stuff in development with people of all shapes and sizes,” Hyams commented at the packed panel session in Edinburgh, while adding that YouTube will ensure that budgets for the originals “fit with the ecosystem.” In the EMEA region, YouTube will be working with local talent and has already roped in names such as Jack Whitehall.