×

YouTube Originals Chief Susanne Daniels Talks Rebranding, Budget, ‘Cobra Kai’

YouTube’s recent rebranding of its subscription streaming service is thus far a success, according to the company’s global head of original content, Susanne Daniels.

YouTube Premium seems to be working so far,” Daniels said Friday at the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour.

In May, YouTube Red, the subscription service launched in 2015 and built around long-form scripted and unscripted programming, was renamed YouTube Premium. The original name had been a head-scratcher for many, and drew mocking comparisons to a popular port site with a similar name.

I think we valiantly tried, and at a certain point realized that YouTube Red wasn’t sending the message about what offering is,” Daniels said. “It didn’t really speak to what the service was to viewers. After a while spending good money after bad in marketing and getting the research back that it really wasn’t resonating with viewers, we decided to rebrand and rename it.”

Daniels, whose career prior to YouTube included stints as top programming executive at the WB and MTV, also spoke about series budgets, and whether YouTube would follow competitors such as HBO and Netflix into eight-figure per-episode spending.

You’re probably not going to see us spend that amount of money for a ‘Game of Thrones’ or one whole series, or for a ‘Westworld,'” Daniels said. “I’ve always been a believer that you could make great shows for less money, and it’s not the episodic spend that makes something great. We’re still going to be doing a lot of content. We’re producing a lot of content. We’re going to roll out another 15 shows this year, we’ve rolled out 15 already.”

She added, “We’re really excited about what we’re doing. I don’t need $10 million an episode to create great content.”

Daniels also joked about the Emmy nomination for stunt work that original series “Cobra Kai” received — the first Emmy nomination for a YouTube original.

“It’s not enough,” she said. “We were robbed. I’m sorry, but ‘Cobra Kai’ deserved much more in my humble opinion. And I didn’t write that show. I just bought the show and got lucky. But I think the show is great. Obviously it’s self serving to say that, but it’s great. It’s done incredibly well, and the voters should have recognized it in more ways than just stunts. Although the stunts are very good.”

More TV

  • amazon-studios

    YouTube Head of Scripted Jon Wax in Talks to Join Amazon Studios

    YouTube’s head of scripted programming, Jon Wax, is in talks to join Amazon Studios, according to an individual with knowledge of the matter. Wax is said to be in discussions for head of genre programming at Amazon, a position held by Sharon Tal Yguado until recently. Variety reported on her exit in early May. The [...]

  • ARE YOU THE ONE SEASON 8

    MTV's 'Are You The One?' Shifts to Sexually Fluid Contestants for New Season

    MTV’s dating reality show “Are You The One?” is addressing changing attitudes regarding sexuality and gender identity by featuring sexually fluid contestants on the show’s eighth season, which bows June 27. The shift from the show’s past focus on heterosexual relationships is part of the larger effort at MTV to be relevant to younger viewers [...]

  • TV News Roundup: Amazon Drops 'Carnival

    TV News Roundup: Amazon Drops 'Carnival Row' Trailer (Watch)

    In today’s roundup, Amazon drops the first official trailer for “Carnival Row,” starring Orlando Bloom and Cara Delevingne. DATES August 1 will see the premiere of HGTV’s “Flip or Flop,” which follows divorced couple Christina Anstead and Tarek El Moussa as they figure out their relationship as co-parents and business partners. In the 18-episode season, the [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    What 'The Office' Shifting Platforms Means for Netflix (Column)

    The most important television show of this unusual moment may just be one whose last new episode aired in 2013. “The Office” was, in its first life in the U.S., a beloved workplace comedy (based on a British series) that ran for nine seasons on NBC. In its protracted afterlife, though, it was known to [...]

  • Adam Scott Calls Out Mitch McConnell's

    Adam Scott Calls Out Mitch McConnell's Social Media Team for Using His Image on Twitter

    Adam Scott took to social media on Wednesday to tell Mitch McConnell’s reps not to use his image after the politician’s social media team tweeted a “Parks and Recreation” gif featuring Scott. “Dear Mitch McConnell & all those representing him, please refrain from using my image in support of anything but your own stunning [and] [...]

  • Riz Ahmed

    'Lives Are Quite Literally at Stake': Riz Ahmed on Seeing More Muslims On Screen

    Art can provoke feeling, but its impact has limitations in the face of legal and systemic oppression, said Riz Ahmed, the activist and actor known for “The OA,” “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” and “The Night Of,” onstage at the CAA Amplify conference in Ojai on Tuesday, calling for the high-powered industry execs, talent, [...]

  • Discovery Corporate New Logo

    Discovery Faces Backlash From Unscripted Producers After Shift in Series Payment Process

    Discovery Inc. is facing a backlash from the unscripted production community following a shift in the cable giant’s protocol for paying for programming. During the past year, Discovery has implemented a new system that calls for the company to pay producers for shows after all episodes and related material for a given season have been [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content