YouTube Premium, which is the nearly two-month-old name for YouTube Red, already seems to be delivering dividends, YouTube Programming Chief Susanne Daniels told TV reporters and critics Friday at the Summer Press Tour at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif.
“I think we valiantly tried, and at a certain point realized that YouTube Red wasn’t sending the message about what offering is,” Daniels said. “It didn’t really speak to what the service was to viewers. After a while spending good money after bad in marketing and getting the research back that it really wasn’t resonating with viewers, we decided to rebrand and rename it.”
Premium, at $12 per month, costs more than Red, which was $10 per month, but that price is more in line with rival services, such as Netflix and Hulu.
That said, YouTube has no intention of producing mega-budget series, such as HBO’s Game of Thrones or Westworld.
“I’ve always been a believer that you could make great shows for less money, and it’s not the episodic spend that makes something great. We’re still going to be doing a lot of content. We’re producing a lot of content. We’re going to roll out another 15 shows this year, we’ve rolled out 15 already.”
To that end, YouTube is adding several new series to the service, including science-fiction thriller Origin, which finds a group of strangers stranded on a spacecraft bound for a distant planet who quickly realize that one of them is not who they claim to be.
Origin stars Natalia Tena (Game of Thrones, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 and Part 2) and Tom Felton (Harry Potter Series, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, The Flash) and newcomer Sen Mitsuji. It also stars Nora Arnezeder, Fraser James, Philipp Christopher, Madalyn Horcher, and Siobhán Cullen. It comes from Sony Pictures Television (SPT)’s international production division, which produces The Crown for Netflix and Outlander for Starz.
Other series coming to YouTube Premium are The Lou Pearlman Project (working title), which reveals the dark side of the music industry as members of multi-platinum selling bans such as *NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, O-Town and Take 5 reveal what it is was like to work with convicted fraudster Lou Pearlman, and an untitled comedy from Adam Pally and Sam Richardson.
In 2019, YouTube Premium is adding Weird City, a six-episode half-hour comedic sci-fi anthology co-created by Jordan Peele and Key and Peele writer Charlie Sanders; On Becoming a God in Central Florida, a ten-episode series starring Kirsten Dunst; and an untitled series investigating artificial intelligence hosted by Robert Downey Jr.
It’s also renewed Karate Kid sequel Cobra Kai (season-two teaser above), the first episode of which attracted more than 41 million views, according to YouTube.
Also renewed is supernatural thriller Impulse, about a girl who learns she can teleport:
And coming back are Step Up: High Water, starring Naya Rivera (Glee) and Faizon Love; Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes on Television, starring (who else?) Ryan Hansen; Kevin Hart: What the Fit; Mind Field and Foursome.
[Cube image courtesy of Variety]