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YouTube’s New Subscription Video Service Goes Head-to-Head with Netflix

YouTube's New Subscription Video Service Goes Head-to-Head with Netflix

What better day than the one that Marty McFly and Doc Brown chose to travel to in the future than to have YouTube announce their plans for the future?

READ MORE: Happy 10th Birthday, YouTube! Here’s Everything Indiewire Has Ever Written About You

Perhaps we all knew it was coming, but today at YouTube Space LA, the Google-owned streaming service announced they will be debuting on an ad-free subscription service – YouTube Red. It will cost $9.99 a month and features include offline viewing and the ability to play videos in the background across all devices. As of October 28, a 30-day free trial is now available. 

“As you can see from our announcement our membership service is completely different from what Netflix is,” said Robert Kyncl, YouTube’s Chief Business Officer. “We’re focusing on providing a lot of creative features that includes the new music app and some original content, however, only with the people that have become really huge on YouTube. Every step that we have taken is 180 degrees the opposite of what Netflix is doing. We’re doing it on our own way.”

But after more than a decade of watching YouTube for free, will viewers be willing to shell out money for the new service? And just as importantly for our community, will creators – all of whom were given the option to join the subscription service over the last six months – be able to continue a similar source of revenue streams they’ve seen from ads?

“We won’t get in to details of contracts,” said Kyncl, “but like I’ve said [today already], the vast majority [of revenue split] is going to creators.” This revenue is watch time-dependent — whoever gets more views gets more revenue — and any YouTube content creator who doesn’t sign on for the new contracts will have their channel go private in United States.  “We put the user first,” Kyncl continued. “Our core principal is that the user gets the full content experience on Red.”

The YouTube service is set to launch Wednesday, October 28 with a one-month free trial offer. At launch, the new service will feature ten original series, including shows from some of YouTube’s biggest stars including PewDiePie, Fine Bros., Rooster Teeth and Lilly Singh aka IISuperwomanII.  “Lazer Team,” the feature film from the Rooster Teeth team, will premiere on the service.

The new service will also allow users to save videos to watch offline on phones or tablets as well as play videos in the background. A redesigned version of YouTube Music, which works with Google Play Music, is also included in the subscription. The new original content will debut in January with a slate overseen by global head of original programming Susanne Daniels.

While Red will not be working with talent outside of the YouTube-verse quite yet — “never say never,” offered Kyncl — they’re targeting their existing base of Millennials, young women and gamers. And Kyncl was quick to offer that behind the camera they’re bringing in lots of great Hollywood talent like Mandeville Films and “The Walking Dead” family at Skybound.

“It’s amazing that we’re doing this with the people that have grown up on YouTube,” Kyncl said. “They are at the core of our investment, and again, it addresses those Hulu and Netflix [comparison] questions.”The full lineup (courtesy of YouTube) is below:

“Scare PewDiePie”: In this reality-adventure series from the creator and executive producers of “The Waking Dead” at Skybound Entertainment and Maker Studios, experience thrills, chills and laughter as PewDiePie encounters terrifying situations inspired by his favorite video games.

“Sing It!”: From Fine Brothers Entertainment and Mandeville Films comes SING IT!, a scripted comedy that lovingly satirizes the reality singing competitions that have become a centerpiece of pop culture.

“Lazer Team”: In this feature-length action-comedy from Rooster Teeth and Fullscreen Films, four small-town losers stumble upon an alien ship carrying a mysterious cargo, leading to a battle to save Earth from an all-powerful enemy.

“A Trip to Unicorn Island”: From the team at Astronauts Wanted, this feature-length movie gives fans an extraordinary look inside the life and journey of Lilly Singh as she embarks on a challenging 26-city global tour where she has to remember to practice what she preaches: happiness is the only thing worth fighting for.

Untitled Joey Graceffa project: In this all-new reality adventure series, Joey Graceffa brings together an ensemble of top YouTubers for a murder mystery they’ll never forget. They’ll form alliances to survive, but little do they know that most won’t make it out alive.

360 Project from MatPat of Game Theory: YouTube educator and pop culture expert MatPat from The Game Theorists invites the audience to come along for the ride in an innovative new series and 360 VR experience. In each episode Matt explores the real-life science behind popular video games by throwing gamers into the high-stakes scenarios they play through every day, from water jetpacks to haunted pizzerias.

“Single by 30”: In this romantic drama series from Wong Fu Productions and New Form Digital, two high school best friends make a promise to get married if they’re still single at 30. A decade later, with 30 quickly approaching, their attempt at upholding their vow unfolds in unexpected ways. Starring Harry Shum, Jr. and Kina Grannis.

Untitled CollegeHumor project: Written by and starring the cast of CollegeHumor, along with special guests, this new anthology series will take a dark and comedic look at the absurdity of Internet culture.

“Fight of the Living Dead”: In an unprecedented social experiment reality show from Alpine Labs, “Fight of the Living Dead” takes popular YouTube talent and traps them in a frighteningly realistic zombie apocalypse. They must use their instincts and gaming skills to survive as they battle the elements for the ultimate prize of survival.

“I Am Tobuscus”: From the mind of Toby Turner, this scripted comedy explores the world of a self-involved YouTube creator pursuing bigger stardom. The show features original music, and satirizes the hilarious details of being an eccentric, new-age celebrity.

READ MORE: How They Funded It: Rooster Teeth on Making Crowdfunding History with ‘Lazer Team’

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