×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

YouTube, DreamWorks Animation to Produce Daily Original Series (EXCLUSIVE)

Rare foray into original daily content will get homepage real estate beginning in January

In an unusual collaboration for both parties, YouTube and DreamWorks Animation are co-producing an original program to air daily on the world’s most popular digital destination, according to sources who said the launch is likely to occur before the end of January.

YouTube Nation” is expected to provide a daily highlight reel of what content is trending on the Google-owned platform based on its own proprietary data in a syndicated newsmagazine-style format akin to what “TMZ” looks like on TV. The format isn’t exactly a new style, given the popularity of more comedic versions like the web series “=3,” which creator and star Ray William Johnson recently indicated he intended to end sometime this year.

The program, which is expected to be touted on the YouTube home page, would be a new kind of initiative for YouTube, which doesn’t typically program its own content beyond the occasional one-off like the YouTube Music Awards. But insiders say the series is expected to serve as a beacon to draw more attention to the dynamic breeding ground of content that is emerging from its partners, which range from big media companies to one-man operations like Johnson’s that have achieved incredible audience scale. Selling ads against homepage content could also fetch a pretty penny.

“YouTube Nation” is a passion project of both YouTube programming chief Robert Kyncl and DreamWorks Animation Jeffrey Katzenberg, who has been moving aggressively to diversify his company beyond the movie business. In addition to broad deals with Netflix and RTL to produce hundreds of hours of original series based on intellectual property derived from DWA movies like “The Croods,” the company also acquired one of the fastest-growing YouTube multichannel networks, AwesomenessTV, which is expected to continue operating separately from “YouTube Nation.”

Popular on Variety

Reps for YouTube and DreamWorks Animation declined comment.

TheVideoInk first reported that “YouTube Nation” was in development last year. It’s actually not Google’s first attempt to make this format work as an original series; YouTube teamed with production company Embassy Row in 2008 for a similar production called “Poptub” that didn’t get much traction.

Whether this will be just a one-off or is the beginning of a new content strategy for YouTube is unknown but it’s likely “YouTube Nation” will play a part in the company’s pitch to advertisers at the NewFronts later this year. As content investment goes, it’s likely a modest sum given this kind of unscripted entertainment is a far cry from the costs of what a Netflix would pay for a scripted drama series like “House of Cards.”

In recent years, YouTube has restricted its investment in content to funding dozens of channels with original content from a range of media partners. But after using that strategy to stimulate the marketplace in 2012, the company cut funding for a good portion of those channels as it gained a better understanding of what programming did and didn’t work on its platform. In addition, YouTube maintains investments in two of the leading digital-only programmers, gamer-centric Machinima and music-video hub Vevo.

More Digital

  • Bernie Sanders Trump win

    Bernie Sanders Vows to Break Up Comcast, Verizon & AT&T: 'Their Greed Must End'

    Vermont Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders unveiled plans to launch publicly-funded broadband networks and break up big internet providers like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T Thursday. “Their greed must end,” the Sanders campaign wrote in its high-speed internet policy proposal. The campaign argued that high-speed internet access should be treated as a public utility, [...]

  • The Office

    Streaming Wars Heat Up Rerun Market as New Services Stock Up on Hits

    In a year in which more than 500 scripted series are on the air and new streaming services seem to debut nearly monthly, some of the biggest money being thrown around for content has gone to a handful of old TV shows, the kind that for years have hummed along evening television without much fuss. [...]

  • The Irishman

    'The Irishman' Nabs 17.1 Million U.S. Viewers on Netflix in First Five Days, per Nielsen

    Martin Scorsese’s mafia saga “The Irishman” was watched by 17.1 million unique Netflix viewers in the U.S. in the first five days of its streaming release, according to Nielsen estimates. By comparison, Sandra Bullock-starrer “Bird Box” scored nearly 26 million U.S. viewers in its first seven days of availability (Dec. 21-27, 2018) on Netflix, according [...]

  • Amazon, HBO Max, Netflix Dish on

    Amazon, HBO Max, Netflix Dish on Their International Plans

    It’s different strokes for different streaming folks as Amazon, HBO Max and Netflix lifted the lid on their international plans in London this week. Amazon said it’s not in the volume game and talked up a select number of hyper-local shows, while Netflix dished on plans to rev up non-English-language originals. The message from HBO [...]

  • NOBODY’S LOOKING

    Daniel Rezende on Netflix Brazilian Series ‘Nobody’s Looking’

    Having premiered on Netflix Nov. 22, “Nobody’s Looking” marks the first collaboration between Gullane and Netflix – their second, “Boca a Boca” is in development- and comes from a long list of new projects that the streaming giant has announced with it’s $87 Million investment in Brazilian content. The series embodies the streaming platform’s push [...]

  • Sunil Doshi

    ATF: Sunil Doshi Launches Content Development Platform All Things Small (EXCLUSIVE)

    Sunil Doshi, whose company Alliance Media & Entertainment produced 2017 Tokyo film festival title “Bioscopewala” and distributed Jafar Panahi’s 2018 film “3 Faces” in India, has launched a new content development platform at the ongoing Asian TV Forum & Market in Singapore. The Mumbai-based All Things Small (ATS) is founded by Doshi, journalists Sidin Vadukut, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content