YouTube opens its Originals series to all YouTube viewers

YouTube has been tight-lipped about the number of subscribers to its YouTube Premium service. However, with the announcement that the Google-owned service will make its YouTube Originals programs – the main draw of the subscription service – free for everyone, questions arise.

According to Hollywood journalist sources, YouTube plans to shake up its Premium service as part of a downsizing. The main effect of this redesign is to make YouTube Originals, YouTube-produced shows that were previously exclusively available to those who paid for YouTube Premium, free to all viewers. This will come into force in 2019.

Currently, YouTube Premium offers offline viewing, no ads, and YouTube Originals. While some originals will remain exclusive to subscribers, including the second season of Kobra Kaimost will become free for all.

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The change comes as YouTube executives push for a “single slate” service, in which YouTube Premium is an extended version of YouTube instead of a separate entity. This would mimic Spotify’s business model, as Spotify Premium allows offline playback and no ads.

The sources also report that YouTube is reducing the number of scripted shows it produces, in favor of content created by YouTube personalities and celebrities. In the past, YouTube has produced movies with YouTubers like Logan Paul and celebrities like Kirsten Dunst. However, YouTube Premium has seen little popularity from rivals Netflix and Amazon Prime for scripted content, and so this shift in jurisdiction could help the platform distance itself from that competition.

While the fact that YouTube Premium’s main draw is no longer exclusive to the service is likely to irritate subscribers, there’s unlikely to be much hype around the issue. The change, along with the major shift in focus and reports of low budgets for YouTube Originals, all point to one thing: No one was really a YouTube Premium subscriber in the first place.

Shirley K. Rosa