YouTube Departs Original TV Biz ... Seemingly for Good This Time

Cobra Kai on Netflix
(Image credit: Sony Pictures TV)

YouTube is officially out of the original series business, and the veteran executive who headed the Google/Alphabet company's originals effort has resigned ... surprising everyone who didn't know that YouTube still produced original shows, or that veteran TV exec Susanne Daniels was still with the outfit. 

(Image credit: Lifetime)

But alas, six years after Daniels, the former WB and Lifetime president, joined YouTube as head of original content, the company made its exit official. 

“Susanne and her team created an international slate of award-winning programs collectively amassing billions of views, shining a light on incredible creators, important social topics, and introducing YouTube to new audiences. In short, YTO played an integral role in growing the YouTube creator economy,” YouTube Chief Business Officer Robert Kyncl said in a letter to creators posted on Twitter Tuesday. “Today, there are over 2M creators in the YouTube Partner Program and our creator community has never been more successful: we’ve paid more than $30B to creators, artists, and media companies over the last three years.”

YouTube's remaining "original content" efforts will focus on creator-driven initiatives such as Creator Shorts Fund, Black Voices Fund, and Live Shopping programming.

YouTube pivoted out of scripted originals shows several years ago, selling what was perhaps its most successful original effort, Karate Kid TV series reboot Cobra Kai, to Netflix. 

At the time of the pivot, YouTube and Daniels would focus on unscripted shows that Google believed better fit YouTube's AVOD programming model. 

YouTube, however, generated $7 billion in ad revenue in the third quarter, up 43% year over year, so it's questionable as to whether it makes good business sense for the company to invest in pricey original shows. 

Daniel Frankel

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!