Via Deadline, YouTube has announced it will be supporting a significant shift in its original programming strategy, and will now run on a free subscription ad-supported network. The streamer will also green light the production of several new reality and documentary programs from its partners — Justin Bieber, Markiplier, and Dude Perfect being amongst them.
Although all programming will be available for free, previous original programming content will be reserved for subscribers to Premium, at a $12-per-month ad-free option. The strategic move has been rumored to be in the works for the last few months, with YouTube Premium currently holding off on any big scripted buys, despite the company mentioning they were in the process of securing unscripted programming.
In past years, YouTube had unveiled more superficial shows starring celebrities like Will Smith, Kevin Hart and Ellen DeGeneres. This year, however the streaming service has placed more emphasis on relatable projects such as Claire, that will tell the story of Claire Wineland, who lost her battle with cystic fibrosis at the age of 21.
The Google-owned video platform will also secure viewership rights for YouTube originals such as Cobra Kai, while projects such as the upcoming Alexandra Dean directed Justin Bieber and Paris Hilton documentaries, will be added to the slate as well. Exact release dates currently remain unknown.
In a press release issued ahead of its Brandcast event, company reps mentioned their primary focus going forward will be three types of series: music, learning and personalities. While other future scripted series will remain apart of the company’s development and programming plans — an ongoing trend for other streaming services as well.
YouTube’s CBO, Robert Kyncl, commented on the growing industry trend in an official statement:
For today’s viewers, prime time is personal and our content resonates so strongly due to the diversity and richness of our unmatched library and platform capabilities. While every other media company is building a paywall, we are headed in the opposite direction and now have more opportunities than ever to partner with advertisers and share our critically- acclaimed originals with our global audience.