YouTube is looking to bring out all of its original programming from behind the paywall starting next year, reports Variety. The platform’s strategy will also shift to celebrity and creator driven content, although scripted shows will continue be to produced as well, adds the publication.
“This next phase of our originals strategy will expand the audience of our YouTube Original creators, and provide advertisers with incredible content that reaches the YouTube generation” YouTube’s statement to Variety said. YouTube’s originals team will continue to be headed by Susanne Daniels, the global head of original content, a role Daniels is in since 2015.
Until now, YouTube Originals have mostly been available on the YouTube Premium subscription service, which includes ad-free streaming of YouTube, YouTube Music, YouTube Kids, YouTube Gaming and Google Play Music. YouTube Premium is available is 29 countries, but not in India.
YouTube Originals in India
YouTube Originals reportedly launched in India in September. A cursory look at the channel shows some series available for free streaming, others not available to stream at all, and some others are behind a Rs 50 paywall, excluding GST. TOI had reported that YouTube will launch Premium in India eventually, without specifying a timeline. Provided that YouTube is shifting away from paywalls, it is unclear if YouTube Premium will launch in India at all.
Besides, two of YouTube Premium’s products are already on offer: YouTube Originals and Google Play Music. In India, Google Play Music is offered at Rs 99 per month, which used to cost Rs 89 a month when it launched in April 2017 (MediaNama does not forget). Most other music streaming services in India, like Gaana and Saavn, offer monthly subscriptions at Rs 99 per month.
YouTube Originals currently has one show in India titled “ARRived”, a musical reality show with musicians AR Rahman, Vidya Vox, Clinton Cerejo and Shaan as judges. The only other India connection YouTube Originals/Premium seems to have right now is its Original documentary “The Price of Free” which follows Nobel Peace Price winner Kailash Satyarthi and his team around the world to find missing children.
In May, YouTube introduced a paid music streaming service YouTube Music (which is now available in 28 countries) and overhauled YouTube Red into YouTube Premium. Yesterday, YouTube launched student plans on YouTube Music Premium and YouTube Premium for students in the US, with plans to expand to other countries. Student plans are available for YouTube Music Premium for $4.99 and YouTube Premium for $6.99.