What just happened? YouTube is officially exiting the original content business. YouTube Chief Commercial Officer Robert Kyncl said the creation of YouTube Originals in 2016 has been instrumental in growing their creator economy over the years. Today, the YouTube Partner Program has over two million members who have collectively earned over $30 billion over the past three years.
Kync noted YouTube now thinks it can have a bigger impact by focusing on other initiatives, like its short film creation fund, black voice fund and live shopping programming.
The departure of Susanne Daniels, who had served as global head of original content since the division’s inception, also contributed to YouTube’s decision. Kyncl said Daniels has decided to leave YouTube, noting that his last day will be March 1.
“I am so proud that our YTO content can contribute to the continued growth and success of this remarkable platform, and I look forward to new adventures to come,” said Daniels. Variety.
YouTube aspired to compete with heavyweights like Amazon and Netflix in the original content space. The division has managed to create some memorable content, including Cobra Kai, a modern spinoff of The Karate Kid series, and Step Up, which was based on the film series of the same name. YouTube eventually dropped those two projects, with Cobra Kai going to Netflix and Starz acquiring Step Up.
but once YouTube said it would make future original programming available for free through an ad-supported model, the suspected pricier originals weren’t long for this world.
Image credit: Adam Fejes