The big picture: YouTube tried for years to compete with heavyweights Netflix, Hulu and Amazon but seemingly wasn't able to loosen their collective grip on the original content industry. Now, it's shifting strategies to cater to a wider audience.
YouTube is shifting strategies with regard to its approach to original programming. By 2020, YouTube’s original content will be available for free to all users.
The move, which comes three years after launching its paid subscription service, means YouTube’s original content will be available to an even wider audience. YouTube is calling the strategy its “Single Slate” as it’ll combine ad-supported and subscription programming into a single initiative.
That’s right, the paid Premium service (formerly YouTube Red) isn’t going away. Initially, some original programming like season two of The Karate Kid spin-off Cobra Kai will remain behind the paywall. Free users may have staggered access to original programming while paying members will get binge-ready helpings. Premium members may also get access to extended cuts of films.
In related news, The Hollywood Reporter also claims that YouTube will scale back its scripted output starting in 2020. One source called the pullback a “serious budget reduction.” A producer briefed on the matter said other platforms have had traction with scripted but YouTube doesn’t feel like there’s an opening for them.
YouTube chief business officer Robert Kyncl, however, said it’s far too early to tell something that decisive.