YouTube Red is all set to release its first slate of original programming next week in the form of three feature-length movies and an ongoing reality show. The official release date is February 10, and the content features familiar YouTube regulars like PewDiePie and Rooster Teeth.
When YouTube Red launched last year, the premium service offered features like an ad-free YouTube viewing experience, offline videos, and access to Google’s music streaming service for a sticker price of $9.99 a month. Existing subscribers to Google Play Music All Access also had YouTube Red added to their subscriptions for no extra fee.
Although YouTube Red promised exclusive content at that time, the impending launch of the first YouTube Red Originals will mark the first time that any exclusive content has been made available on the service.
On February 10, 2016, YouTube Red subscribers will be able to access three feature-length movies. The fourth exclusive program is what YouTube refers to as a “reality-adventure series.” Each of these movies and series features familiar YouTube content creators that regular users of the streaming service are likely to be familiar with.
The first YouTube Red Original premiering next week is A Trip to Unicorn Island, which is a documentary that follows YouTuber ||Superwoman||, real name Lilly Singh, on her first world tour.
The other two YouTube Red Original movies are comedies Dance Camp and Lazer Team, from AwesomenessTV and Rooster Teeth.
Scare PewDiePie is the only ongoing series in the slate of YouTube Red Originals set to premiere this February. It stars YouTuber PewDiePie and comes from the creative minds behind The Walking Dead.
While none of these YouTube Red Originals are available to stream anywhere else, The Verge points out that some of the programs aren’t as exclusive as subscribers may be led to believe.
Rooster Teeth’s Lazer Team, for instance, was crowd-funded to the tune of $1,000,000 in ticket pre-sales and saw a limited theatrical release last week. Rooster Teeth, which got its start making machinama with Microsoft’s Halo games before YouTube even existed, is part of the multi-channel network Fullscreen, along with currently embattled fellow YouTubers, the Fine Brothers.
According to Variety, there are also questions as to how long Dance Camp will remain a YouTube Red exclusive.
Although YouTube Red is currently only available in the United States, The Verge reports that users from other countries will also be able to access the content for a price. No subscription is available outside the United States, but the programming will be available for purchase through YouTube’s existing video storefront.
Users from outside the United States will also be able to purchase YouTube Red Original content through the Google Play store, which will involve a delay. Original movies will be available through the Google Play store one month after release on YouTube Red, and individual episodes of series like Scare PewDiePie will be available one day after airing.
The official launch of these four YouTube Red Originals represents YouTube’s first foray into the world of original, exclusive, premium content, which is an area where Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu have already seen success. Much of the existing content on YouTube is also original, but production values vary from one creator to another.
YouTube’s user demographics also skew younger than other streaming services, according to Business Insider, and popular creators often develop devoted fan bases eager to view new content. Now, for the first time, some of that content will be gated behind a paywall.
Do you think that YouTube Red Originals will represent legitimate competition for original content from Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu, or is the market already saturated with premium video streaming services?
[Photo by AP Photo/Danny Moloshok]