×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

YouTube Outlines Originals Strategy in Europe, Middle East, Africa

As it pushes forward with its original-content and premium-subscription strategy beyond U.S. borders, YouTube is looking for character-centered dramas with international potential and comedies that depart from the usual sitcom template, said Luke Hyams, the online platform’s head of originals for Europe, Middle East and Africa.

“In scripted, we’re looking for personality-driven, authored pieces that have potential for international appeal and that take us into a new world or environment that maybe we haven’t seen in a drama before,” Hyams told a packed auditorium at the Edinburgh TV Festival on Wednesday. “Focus[ing] on one person’s narrative works really well for us.”

He cited “On Becoming a God in Central Florida,” an upcoming YouTube original starring Kirsten Dunst as a woman in 1990s Florida who works her way up the ranks of a Ponzi scheme-like company that drove her husband to financial ruin.

On the comedy side, while he still likes the 30-minute format, Hyams said he was on the lookout for “more serialized half-hours than your usual sitcoms.” Standup performances, plenty of which exist on the online service already, are out.

Hyams was speaking barely a week before his new boss, outgoing FremantleMedia CEO Cecile Frot-Coutaz, is expected to take the reins of YouTube’s EMEA operations. His comments come as YouTube tries to promote its YouTube Premium subscription service (formerly YouTube Red) in a world where other platforms such as Netflix and Amazon have run ahead with original production.

Unlike those two giants, however, YouTube already has a vast array of free content and needs to convince viewers to switch to its premium service. That doesn’t mean taking popular YouTubers on the free service and simply moving them behind the paywall, Hyams said.

It does mean working, at times, with big-name talent such as Dunst and also Robert Downey, Jr., who is working with YouTube on a documentary series on artificial intelligence, said Hyams. But he said that the service is “really trying to keep a balance” between known and emerging figures.

Along with comedy and drama – including sci-fi show “Origins,” a brief clip of which was screened in Edinburgh – Hyams said he was seeking content able to make a social impact, including “female-led stuff.”

More TV

  • Khloe KardashianKhloe Kardashian, Emma Grede and

    Khloe Kardashian To 'Bachelor' Creator: 'Stop Or You Will Be Hearing From My Lawyers'

    UPDATE: Khloe Kardashian slams “Bachelor” creator Mike Fleiss’ claims she could be the next “Bachelorette.” And her sister Kim Kardashian West has her back. I’m not fucking clickbait right now. Stop or you will be hearing from my lawyers. How insensitive!! https://t.co/vTKi83nLUJ — Khloé (@khloekardashian) February 24, 2019 The time has come to choose a [...]

  • How the 'Rich Eisen Show' Mixes

    How the 'Rich Eisen Show' Mixes Sports and Showbiz in an Entertaining Mix

    Walking through the El Segundo studio where veteran sportscaster Rich Eisen tapes his daily “Rich Eisen Show,” the sheer density of sports memorabilia is overwhelming — everything from game balls to jerseys, gear, autographs and uncountable photos are crammed onto every inch of wall and desk space. But step into Eisen’s dressing room, and the [...]

  • Whiskey Tango Cavalier

    TV Review: 'Whiskey Cavalier'

    The crux of “Whiskey Cavalier” can be found right in its protagonist’s name. “Will Chase” is a purposefully ridiculous wink of a name that tries to be both debonair and very silly all at once, just like the FBI agent (played by Scott Foley) to which it belongs. This isn’t a regular spy drama, “Whiskey [...]

  • Brody Stevens Dead

    Comedian Brody Stevens Dies at 48

    Prominent Los Angeles comedian Brody Stevens died Friday in Los Angeles, Variety has confirmed. He was 48. “Brody was an inspiring voice who was a friend to many in the comedy community,” Stevens’ reps said in a statement. “He pushed creative boundaries and his passion for his work and his love of baseball were contagious. [...]

  • Editorial use onlyMandatory Credit: Photo by

    Malik Yoba to Reprise Role in 'New York Undercover' Reboot at ABC

    Malik Yoba, who starred as Detective J.C. Williams in the 90s show “New York Undercover,” is set to reprise the role in the ABC reboot, sources tell Variety. Picking up 20 years after the end of the original series, “New York Undercover” will follow detectives Nat Gilmore and Melissa Ortiz as they investigate the city’s [...]

  • Chris Burrous dead KTLA anchor

    KTLA Anchor Chris Burrous' Cause of Death Released

    An investigative report on KTLA anchor Chris Burrous has determined that his cause of death was attributed to methamphetamine toxicity, according to the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office. Burrous, 43, was found unconscious at a motel in Glendale, Calif on December 27, and later died at the hospital. The death has been ruled as accidental. [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    'Crazy Rich Asians,' 'Late Show With Stephen Colbert' Win Publicity Campaign Awards

    Hollywood publicists have selected “Crazy Rich Asians” as the top movie publicity campaign for 2018 and “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” as the best television campaign. Warner Bros.’ “Crazy Rich Asians” topped the campaigns for Disney’s “Black Panther,” Fox’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Paramount’s “A Quiet Place,” Sony’s “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” and Universal’s “Halloween” for [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content