YouTube to bring third party films and TV shows to YouTube Red?
James R | On 06, Dec 2015
YouTube is reportedly looking to bring third party films and TV shows to its subscription service, YouTube Red.
Red launched last month in the US and is still in its early days, but made a promising departure from the usual SVOD crowd by sticking to what it does best: providing a platform for vloggers. The site announced a range of original, exclusive titles, each featuring a high-profile YouTube creator, such as Scare PewDiePie, a reality adventure series from the executive producers of The Walking Dead.
Indeed, original content has proven key to the success of both Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Now, though, Youtube is planning to adopt their other strategy: licensing content from third parties.
It’s something the site was previously considering, before going down the ad-free, original route, but faced one major problem: there are now so many established SVOD players in the streaming game that most companies have already signed the subscription rights away, often on an exclusive basis.
YouTube, of course, has the clout of Google behind it: Alphabet, the newly named parent company, already has deals with major studios to sell and rent films and shows through Google Play, while YouTube offers digital rentals too. The two even work out of the same office in Beverly Hills. But the site has another plan to set it apart from Netflix and Amazon: rather than fight for rights to party with old content, YouTube is aiming to commission original titles from its partners.
“Netflix, Amazon and Hulu license many older movies and TV series that have already run elsewhere, while YouTube is focusing on new material,” an anonymous source told the Wall Street Journal.
“The shows or movies may be streamed exclusively on YouTube Red, or could be released through traditional channels like movie theaters, cable networks and DVDs alongside the YouTube subscription service,” reports the Journal.
Some experts believe that it is not too late for YouTube to rival Netflix and Amazon.
“YouTube’s dominance in short-format video, its global reach and its technical prowess give it a seat,” Mark Terbeek, a partner at media venture-capital firm Greycroft Partners, told the Journal.
YouTube has certainly got the team behind the scenes to make it happen: it hired MTV’s former chief programmer, Susanne Daniels, earlier this year, who joined former Netflix content executive Kelly Merryman and Robert Kyncl, formerly of Netflix and now YouTube’s chief business officer.
The talks are still in their early stages, though, and as Apple also tries to mount its own subscription TV package, the question remains whether YouTube will be able to gain enough traction as an SVOD contender for existing Netflix and Amazon Prime users, or whether it would find more success just by focusing on YouTube content.