Justin Bieber is planning for a big 2020, announcing a new single and docuseries, “Justin Bieber: Seasons,” to premiere on Jan. 27 on YouTube. The 10-part series will premiere two episodes weekly — on Mondays and Wednesdays — each of which cost the video streaming giant upwards of $2 million each, according to insiders privy to terms of the deal. In total, competition for “Seasons” drove the cost to upwards $20 million, on the level of Billie Eilish’s recent doc deal with Apple, which sources tell Variety is north of $25 million, and Beyonce’s with Netflix, which Variety reported to be in the $30 million range. “Seasons” is believed to be YouTube Original Content’s priciest acquisition to date.
Previous YouTube Original Content efforts in the music space include the documentaries “How to Be: Mark Ronson,” “Ariana Grande: Dangerous Woman Diaries” and “Demi Lovato: Simply Complicated,” in addition to the recent performance video, “Coldplay: Everyday Life — Live in Jordan.”
Variety has reached out to YouTube for comment.
In announcing the series, Susanne Daniels, YouTube’s global head of original content, noted that Bieber’s “inspiring story” and “courage as an artist” drew the company to the project. YouTube Originals, she added, “[aims] to spotlight authentic struggles and real-life triumphs.”
Bieber’s personal struggles have been well-documented. A teen idol who grew up in the spotlight, his fame coincided with the rise of social media which amplified his every move, good and bad. A preview of the series airs tonight on ABC’s “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2020” just after the ball drops at midnight. The clip includes a special message from Bieber.
A trailer for “Seasons” released today reveals some of the participants in the doc — each episode clocks in at just over 10 minutes — including his wife Hailey Bieber and managers Scooter Braun and Allison Kaye. The process of making a new album, his first in four years, is also a focus of the series.
Bieber aligning with YouTube is a logical partnership in that he is currently the most subscribed artist on the platform, with 47.8 million subscribers, and has six videos in his canon with over a billion views. All told, Bieber’s official YouTube channel has over 19 billion views.
“When I was getting started, YouTube provided me a platform and a community where I could share music, experiences and moments with my fans,” said the star, who was first discovered via home videos shot by his mother throughout his childhood.
“Justin Bieber: Seasons” is directed and executive produced by OBB Pictures’ Michael D. Ratner; the documentary is produced by Bieber Time Films, SB Projects and OBB Pictures. Bieber serves as an executive producer along with Scooter Braun, Allison Kaye and Scott Manson, who are executive producers for SB Projects. Michael D. Ratner, Scott Ratner and Kfir Goldberg serve as executive producers for OBB Pictures. Photographer Joe Termini is set to direct additional episodes.
For YouTube Originals, in addition to Daniels, Alex Piper, head of unscripted, and Cara Casey, development lead, will oversee “Justin Bieber: Seasons.”