YouTube is changing strategy and moving away from scripted programming, according to an exclusive report from The Hollywood Reporter. It will make its original programs available for free instead of via its premium subscription service. The video platform will instead refocus on its advertising-based business.
YouTube Shifting Strategy
The Hollywood Reporter said, “the Google-owned platform is expected to scale back its scripted output beginning in 2020.” Furthermore, the team responsible for original programming has started to tell its partners involved about the change. One partner told the Hollywood Reporter that there has been “a serious budget reduction” for scripted programming.
However, Robert Kyncl, YouTube’s Chief Business Officer, told the Hollywood Reporter, that “it is far too early to tell something that decisive.”
Mr. Kyncl also highlighted shows that will be appearing on the platform, such as Weird City and On Becoming a God in Central Florida, which will star Kirsten Dunst. Rivals platforms Netflix and Amazon Prime have annual budgets for original content that dwarf that of YouTube Originals. Apple has also been spending at least a billion dollars per year in buying and developing its own original programming.
Refocussing on Advertising
Instead of trying to entice users to subscribe to its premium service, YouTube is going to refocus on advertising. Since 2017, original projects have been made available to non-subscribers. Mr. Kyncl said: “Through experimentation, we’ve also learned that we can make a lot of the projects work incredibly well when we make them available free to users.”
Mr. Kyncl pointed to the huge YouTube audience as a reason to keep publishing originals on the platform. He said: “One of the main reasons that people publish content to YouTube is for this incredible global reach. The same should be true for our originals.”
The YouTube Originals team is led by Susanne Daniels. Ms. Daniels was formerly an executive at MTV,