As vice president of YouTube originals, Daniels will oversee development and production of content for the world’s highest-trafficked video source. The move isn’t expected to be a major shift in programming strategy for Google-owned YouTube, which is already pretty far along in its plan to expand its originals.
In April, YouTube revealed that select digital stars including the Fine Bros., Prank vs. Prank and Smosh would be part of a first wave who would get increased funding in order to realize more ambitious programming efforts than the more modest budgets that have marked the company’s efforts in the past.
Daniels will report to Robert Kyncl, global head of content and business operations at YouTube. Kyncl had spoken of needing to ramp up original efforts as YouTube prepares to take its digital native stars and take their programming efforts to the next level.
“Susanne is an executive whose incredible instincts have led her to consistently generate pop culture hits that audiences relate to and root for,” said Kyncl. “Susanne’s deep expertise in programming will be invaluable to us and our top creators and help them foster even more ambitious projects for YouTube.”
Part of what is driving YouTube’s originals efforts is the creeping challenge represented from fellow juggernauts like Facebook, which has seen its online video efforts gather considerable momentum over the last year, as well as upstarts like Vessel, led by former Hulu chief Jason Kilar. Both companies have been attempting to woo away digital celebrities from YouTube.
It’s a sign of maturation for the digital content space and its programming efforts that a seasoned TV veteran like Daniels, whose resume also includes high-profile stints at Lifetime and the WB, is taking on a new challenge at YouTube. While other digital power players like Netflix and Amazon have moved faster to advance their own premium long-form content initiatives, none have picked as prominent a TV executive as Daniels to lead their efforts.
It’s also a sign of the times that Daniels is stepping away from the helm at MTV, which was once the network perceived as being the leading brand among adolescent viewers, and joining YouTube as digital content alternatives have been blamed for stealing away younger consumers. Viacom, parent company for MTV, in particular has seen significant decreases in the Nielsen ratings among youth demos across many of its networks over the past year, though some of those losses can also be chalked up to the inability to measure changing content consumption across platforms.
Alex Carloss, who has led YouTube’s original programming efforts, will continue, with his team now reporting into Daniels.
Also among the first digital-native celebrities that will be part of the YouTube originals initiative is Joey Graceffa, who was named among the top 12 digital stars working today as part of Variety’s #Famechangers ranking.