While most everyone else is worrying about the oversaturated TV marketplace, unsurprisingly, YouTube Red has no such anxiety.
“I believe the opposite,” said YouTube Red’s Global Head of Content Susanne Daniels. “Audiences today are looking for more content personalized to their interests. This presents opportunities to explore niches and genres that previously might not have made their way to the screen.”
To backup her claim, she said 55 percent of viewers look for a new show and movie every week, and that 72 percent of viewers are consuming more video content than a year ago.
To take advantage of the seemingly never-ending seller’s market that is TV, Daniels highlighted the three tenets of YouTube Red’s programming strategy: innovation, community and diversity.
“One of the things I wanted to do was leverage the power of the platform that couldn’t be done at a linear network,” said Daniels.
This inspired YouTube’s partnership with Katy Perry in the form of Katy Perry: Witness Worldwide, a 96-hour livestream of Perry’s tour. Perry’s very own Truman Show brought 50 million fans over 190 countries to the event.
Community taps into Daniels’ YouTube Red’s initial strategy: “fish where the fish are.”
“Lean into the stars and genres loved by YouTube fans and already have YouTube communities,” she said.
That strategy isn’t changing going forward, continuing to be a foundation for the streaming giant. Case in point: the forthcoming Liza on Demand with YouTube star Liza Koshy from Lorne Michaels’ digital comedy studio Above Average.
But they’re also hoping to expand their community, with shows like Impulse, based on the Jumper series from Bourne Identity director Doug Liman.
“I’m excited about being on a network that has so many eyeballs. [YouTube] is the most ubiquitous name in video streaming,” said Liman, executive producer of Impulse. “The opportunity to have a home and be there as YouTube Red is built out, as creators, is a really exciting place to be.”
When it comes to diversity, “actions speak louder than words,” repeated Robert Kyncl, YouTube’s chief business officer.
“A priority for me is finding fresh new voices, and championing them behind and in front of the camera,” said Daniels. “You have to make it a conscious effort. You have to work with production companies, producers and all singularly agree this is a goal and then pursue it.”
Step Up: High Water, Impulse and Youth & Consequences was written and produced by female showrunners. Every director of Step Up: High Water was either a woman, a person of color or LGBT, while 70 percent of Youth & Consequences’ directors were female.
Of course, the Logan Paul controversy that dominated the proceedings threatened to muddy that message.
“We want to make sure we all recognize a few missteps don’t spoil the work of the other hardworking creators doing incredible work on YouTube,” said Kyncl. “As for Logan, we believe he’s made unfortunate missteps. He expressed remorse quickly and is learning from the experience.”
In response, the network has removed Logan Paul from its YouTube Preferred platform.
“All his projects are on hold indefinitely,” said Kyncl.
When pressed further, YouTube wouldn’t confirm or deny that the network has seen the last of Logan Paul.
“We’ll see in the future,” Kyncl said.
YouTube promises forthcoming changes to its community guidelines and standards in the future to prevent situations like this in the future and protect YouTube’s community, creators and users.