YouTube to Launch New Original Content Effort by Year-End

Alex Carloss, head of originals at YouTube, gave a little more color Tuesday at the NATPE confab on the Google-owned video powerhouse’s upcoming effort to finance original programming.

He indicated that the initiative would launch by the end of the year, but stopped short of specifying just how much would be spent or on who dollars will be spent. But Carloss made clear that the effort would be focused on taking top native YouTube talent and giving them the financial lift to execute programming concepts they couldn’t otherwise achieve.

“We’ll start with the next level for a lot of our creators; we’ll fund beyond what they are typically able to realize,” said Carloss, drawing a distinction between YouTube and the more conventional scripted content efforts of Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Carloss also sought to draw a distinction between YouTube’s 2012 channel-centric programming initiative, which spent $200 million on producing and marketing content from a mix of native digital brands and Hollywood producers. “We learned a huge amount in the process,” he said. “In many ways, it shaped the  YouTube narrative, to write the playbook for what works and what doesn’t.”

Yet another difference between YouTube and traditional TV that Carloss identified was that the company won’t be constrained by the typical half-hour or hourlong episode formats.  He also noted that traditional TV shows seem to be mimicking YouTube’s formats more than the other way around, highlighting all the traffic broadcast late-night hosts in particular have been getting peddling select segments online.

“It’s starting to govern their formats,” said Carloss. “They’re developing isolated shows within shows.”

Carloss said his originals team, which is just three months into its effort, is split among scripted, unscripted, family and comedy programming. In addition to financial support, the talent involved will be able to partake of marketing help, “matchmaking with off-YouTube talent,” and the company’s own production facilities.

As for who YouTube will lavish its programming efforts on, Carloss said they will be looking for talent that has a rabid fan base, passionate creators and good ideas.

YouTube is putting the focus on grooming its own top talent as competitive pressure is coming from new ventures like Jason Kilar’s Vessel, and social media giants like Facebook put renewed focus on video on their own platforms.

The originals initiative will likely sync up with Google Preferred, an initiative YouTube announced at its “newfronts” presentation last year that allows advertisers to buy into the top 5% of its ad inventory. Carloss indicated Google Preferred has been successful, and is being rolled out in other countries now that it has established traction in the U.S.

Carloss was interviewed at NATPE by Matthew Garrahan of The Financial Times.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • fundo logo

    Google‘s Area 120 Is Testing Fundo, a Crowdfunding Service for Creators (EXCLUSIVE)

    Google’s skunkworks lab Area 120 has been quietly testing an events-centric crowdfunding service for YouTubers, Variety has learned. Called Fundo, the service allows creators to invite their fans to virtual meet & greet sessions and other paid online events. A Google spokesperson confirmed the testing in a statement provided to Variety: “One of the many [...]

  • Telling Lies - Logan Marshall-Green

    Sam Barlow's 'Telling Lies' Government-Surveillance Thriller Game Sets Release Date

    After more than two years in the works, “Telling Lies” — the investigative thriller from acclaimed game creator Sam Barlow — is ready to take the stage. The game, produced with and released by Annapurna Interactive, will be available next Friday, Aug. 23, via Steam and Apple’s Mac and iOS app stores. “Telling Lies” will [...]

  • YouTube logo

    YouTube Will Stop Letting Copyright Holders Seize Revenue via Manual Claims on Very Short Music Clips

    YouTube is pushing back against overzealous copyright policing by music companies. Starting in mid-September, the video giant will forbid copyright holders from making manual claims to commandeer revenue generated by YouTube videos that include very short music clips (e.g., five seconds of a song) or “unintentional” music (like music from passing cars). “One concerning trend [...]

  • Chelsea Handler memoir book buy online

    Chelsea Handler Bonds With Alexa in iHeartRadio Smart Speaker Promo

    iHeartRadio has teamed up with Amazon to promote Chelsea Handler’s podcast “Life Will Be The Death Of Me.” Beginning this Thursday, users of Amazon’s Echo smart speaker and other devices with Alexa built-in can opt to get their mornings started with Handler cracking jokes and exchanging banter with the smart assistant. Users simply have to [...]

  • David Messinger, Activision Blizzard

    Activision Blizzard Hires CAA Veteran David Messinger as CMO

    Activision Blizzard tapped David Messinger, a former 15-plus-year veteran of CAA, as its first corporate-wide chief marketing officer. Messinger, based in Santa Monica, reports to Coddy Johnson, Activision Blizzard’s president and COO. It’s the first time the video-game company has appointed a CMO who will oversee the global marketing operations across all of Activision Blizzard [...]

  • Ashley Flowers - Crime Junkie

    'Crime Junkie' Podcast Host Ashley Flowers Responds to Plagiarism Allegations

    Ashley Flowers, creator and host of “Crime Junkie” — currently the No. 1 true-crime podcast — has been accused of using material in her show from multiple sources without credit. In a statement sent to Variety, Flowers said in part, “we recently made the decision to pull down several episodes from our main feed when their [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content