YouTube denies it is pulling the plug on its high-cost originals

Update March 26: YouTube has denied Bloomberg’s original report, and has issued the following statement:

“YouTube denies the report, pointing to its full and robust slate that has several scripted projects in development. Furthermore, YouTube says it is steadily building its SVOD business, while also developing new series and formats that will appeal to a global audience through a new ad-supported model that will be in place for all of our series and events by the end of the year. They are expected to unveil a new slate of new and returning hits in the coming weeks.”

The original piece continues below.

Google is cancelling its plans to make more big-budget YouTube original shows, according to Bloomberg. The site reports that the company has cancelled two of its most high-profile shows – Origin and Overthinking with Kat & June – and isn’t accepting pitches for more scripted content.

With hindsight, the signs were there that perhaps everything wasn’t quite alright with YouTube originals. YouTube Red – originally pitched as a way of accessing premium videos, ad free with other perks – was rebranded as a paid music service, while last November the site revealed that some originals would eventually make their way to non-paying YouTube members.

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The schedule is not clear, but it should mean that you can watch the likes of Prank Academy, Scare PewDiePie, Wayne, Impulse, BTS Burn the Stage, Ariana Grande: Dangerous Woman Diaries, The Thinning and Viper Club without paying a bean.

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According to Bloomberg, a tiny number of shows will be renewed, but presumably these have to be as close as you can get to surefire hits ad profits profits outweigh the production costs. One example of this is Cobra Kai, a Karate Kid reboot that will be getting a third season and has succeeded based less on its budget and effects, but on the warm buzz of nostalgia it delivers to viewers.   

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The timing of this leak is certainly eyebrow-raising. Tonight, Apple is expected to reveal its plans for television streaming, and the retreat of a rival with similarly-sized giant budgets isn’t a great sign that original programming has much hope for companies beyond Hollywood. Of course, Amazon and Netflix would beg to differ…

Will you miss YouTube originals, or is YouTube content at its best when it’s user generated? Let us know on Twitter: @TrustedReviews.