In the early hours of the morning, YouTube’s chief business officer announced an end to the production of most new YouTube Originals, effectively ending a six-year long project in which the free Google-owned video and streaming platform tried to stand up to streaming giants like Netflix.
YouTube Originals was an extension of the YouTube platform, allowing for higher-budget projects made by YouTube creators. This ties in with YouTube Premium subscriptions, which you needed to watch many YouTube Original shows.
Over on Twitter, Robert Kyncl, the chief business officer of the platform, published a letter addressed to creators. The first paragraph laments the success of YouTube Originals, saying that it has reached billions of viewers and shined a light on creators and topics.
“In short, YTO (YouTube Originals) played an integral role in growing the YouTube creator economy,” Kyncl said in the post.
“However, with rapid growth comes new opportunities and now our investments can make a greater impact on even more creators when applied towards other initiatives.”
It’s a very neutral way of saying that the company is done with making its own content, but it’s definitely the case. YouTube then listed off other initiatives worthy of the funds that will now not be going towards YouTube Originals, like the Creator Shorts Fund, the Black Voices Fund and Live Shopping programming.
An update on YouTube Originals: pic.twitter.com/PixhgZ2yhU
— Robert Kyncl (@rkyncl) January 18, 2022
It was also announced in the same Twitter post that Susanne Daniels, an industry veteran and the woman behind YouTube Originals as the global head of originals, would also be leaving YouTube, with her last day slated for March 1.
“Together, these factors contributed to our decision to reduce our YouTube Originals slate,” Kyncl added.
“Going forward, we will only be funding programs that are part of our Black Voices and YouTube Kids Funds.”
Man, that honestly really sucks, but at the same time there really wasn’t a whole lot of exciting content that came from YouTube Originals. It was all really just content from established YouTubers with a bit of marketing and budget to muscle.
Still, let’s mourn the service quickly, considering it’s a sad day for YouTube creators.
The immediate thing that comes to mind is Mind Field, the YouTube Originals show created by Michael from Vsauce, one of YouTube’s most popular science channels. The greater budget allowed Michael to delve into topics in greater detail than he was previously able to, running live, expensive experiments. Though the show hasn’t received a new episode since 2019, it’s definitely one of the more memorable YouTube Originals.
Another YouTube Original that comes to mind is A Heist with Markiplier, an interactive film starring online gaming personality Markiplier (MatPat also shows up in it). It was released on YouTube in late 2019, following a heist plot where the viewer can essentially choose their own adventure. A fun idea that Netflix did a year prior with Black Mirror: Bandersnatch.
Finally, let’s veer over to the YouTube Originals channel to see what kind of content has been put up recently (this content includes YouTube Premium exclusive shows). A game show called Copy That!, a conversation between Kermit the Frog and Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai and Bear Witness, Take Action 3, a six-part series set to release episodes exploring Black life and culture. A diverse range of content.
Though the most-viewed video on the channel reached a massive 55 million views (The first episode for Sideswiped), videos on the Originals channel typically bounce between 10,000 views and into the millions.
“We will honor our commitment for already contracted shows in progress and creators who are involved with those shows should expect to hear from us directly in the coming days,” Kyncl confirmed.
Rest in peace, YouTube Originals. At least the YouTube platform will live on with hits like Baby Shark.