YouTube opens up its Originals series to all YouTube viewers
YouTube has stayed tight-lipped about the number of subscribers its YouTube Premium service has. However, with the news that the Google-owned service is to make its YouTube Originals programmes – the main draw to the subscription service – free to all, questions are being raised.
According to Hollywood Reporter sources, YouTube plans to shake up its Premium service amid a budget downsizing. The main effect of this shakeup is to make YouTube Originals, shows produced by YouTube that were previously exclusively available to those who paid for YouTube Premium, free for all viewers. This will come into effect in 2019.
Currently YouTube Premium offers offline viewing, no adverts and the YouTube Originals. While some Originals will remain exclusive to subscribers, including the second season of Kobra Kai, most will become free for all.
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The change comes as YouTube executives push for a “single-slate” service, in which YouTube Premium is an expanded version of YouTube instead of a distinct entity. This would emulate the business model of Spotify, as Spotify Premium allows for offline play and no adverts.
The sources also report YouTube is reducing the number of scripted shows it produces, in favour of content created by YouTube personalities and celebrities. In the past YouTube has produced films with YouTubers like Logan Paul and celebrities such as Kirsten Dunst. However, YouTube Premium has seen little of the popularity its rivals Netflix and Amazon Prime enjoy for scripted content, and so this change in purview could help the platform distance itself from this competition.
While making the main draw to YouTube Premium no longer exclusive to the service will likely anger subscribers, it’s unlikely there’s going to be much fuss around the matter. The change, along with the major shift in focus and reports of tiny budgets for YouTube Originals, all points to one thing — nobody was really subscribed to YouTube Premium in the first place.