YouTube cuts investment in original programming

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YouTube is reportedly cutting its investment in original programming, ending a six-year experiment with making premium television shows under veteran entertainment executive Susanne Daniels.

YouTube will still fund original programming for kids and black creators, and it will honour existing commitments, the company said in a blog post. But the Alphabet-owned business is redirecting other spending to Shorts, a feature designed to rival TikTok, and live shopping. Daniels will leave YouTube on 1 March.

Daniels joined YouTube in 2015 to create a slate of original dramas, comedies and unscripted series, aiming to attract high-end advertisers and persuade more of the site’s users to pay for a premium service. She commissioned the hit series Cobra Kai, as well as some popular documentaries. But YouTube’s interest in original series waned, and it stopped funding scripted programming in recent years.

The company has since decided to use music to drive subscriptions, as opposed to original series, and Daniels has been looking at other jobs for at least a couple of years. YouTube had continued to fund unscripted programming, such as two documentaries about pop star Demi Lovato. But now that money will go to bigger company priorities.

“With rapid growth comes new opportunities and now our investments can make a greater impact on even more creators when applied towards other initiatives,” Robert Kyncl, YouTube’s chief business officer, wrote in the blog post.

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