“YouTube Red is taking its first step into streaming’s original programming wars in one week,” is how The Verge started an article on YouTube announcing the launch of its first first original content premiere. On February 10, YouTube Red, a new $10/month service from YouTube where users can watch videos without ads, original content and listen to music in the US, will stream 3 feature length movies and a video from YouTube sensation PewDiePie.
Users can sign up and get the first month free of cost, where YouTube plans to add more original content across comedy, romance, thrillers and other genres this year on its Originals channel. According to a Mint report, YouTube has spent a lot of money on channels which bring more original programming to the site, which included channels from Madonna, Sofia Vergara and Ashton Kutcher.
Users from India (as well as 36 other countries) will be able to buy original series, shows and movies, while network TV shows can be purchased by users from Argentina, Australia, Canada, Japan, the UK and the US. A list of where all YouTube Red will expand to here.
YouTube Red was launched in October last year and also offered a subscription to YouTube Gaming and YouTube Kids, a yet-to-be-announced dedicated music app and offline videos. YouTube Red can also play videos in the background. Gizmodo reported that the subscription would also give access to Google Play Music.
In August, YouTube launched a Twitch.tv competitor called Youtube Gaming, which enabled users to search for gaming videos and watch as well as upload live game streams on desktop and on Android. In the same month, YouTube collaborated with Bollywood film director Subhash Ghai’s film making academy Whistling Woods International to create YouTube Space in Mumbai, which was later launched in December.
MediaNama’s take: It appears that the next wave of video watching is going to revolve around original content (Netflix is taking steps and more towards this already, as is GoPro, while TV makers have also added YouTube and Netflix buttons), and this is going to benefit content creators as well as viewers. For higher adoption, YouTube will need to make sure that it launches Red globally. Other than monetary and business decisions, the fact is that we’re in 2016, where TV shows (and some movies immediately after a theatrical release) are being simulcast in the US and in India and DTH operators are launching their VOD services.