Chief Business Officer of YouTube, Robert Kyncl, announced that YouTube Originals will be shutting down slowly—save for shows that are still “in progress” and content under Black Voices and YouTube Kids.
While it’s sad that the platform’s original content group is planning its exit, there was honestly not that much to show for it in retrospect.
“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,” said Kyncl.
The announcement came a few days after YouTube’s global head of Original Content—Susanne Daniels—announced that she is leaving the company. Her last day will be on 1 March 2022.
“In 2016, we created YouTube Originals, a division within YouTube dedicated to great new programming with our creators and headed by industry veteran Susanne Daniels. As Global Head of Originals, Susanne and her team created an international slate of award-winning programs collectively amassing billions of views, shining a light on incredible creators, important social topics, and introducing YouTube to new audiences,” added Kyncyl.
There were some fairly popular shows to come out of Originals. They included “Justin Bieber: Seasons”, “Liza On Demand”, and—arguably the most popular one—“Cobra Kai”. However, in 2018, YouTube killed off its scripted TV series and movies, which was why “Cobra Kai” moved on to Netflix.
Instead, the team shifted to focus on unscripted shows, concentrating on music, celebrity and creator-focused originals, as well as educational programming. Last fall, YouTube debuted Will Smith’s “Best Shape of My Life”—an unscripted series following his latest fitness journey.
Although YouTube Originals used to be exclusive for Premium subscribers, many are now available for everyone. The only way to watch them ad-free, though, is with YouTube Premium. But it still doesn’t seem like it’s exploded in popularity.