YouTube has confirmed that one TV show and three feature-length films will be the first exclusive content released for its YouTube Red subscription video service.
They will debut on 10 February in the US, the only country where YouTube Red has launched so far. Fans elsewhere in the world will have to buy the shows and films from YouTube, or buy and rent them from the Google Play store.
Gamer Felix Kjellberg’s Scare PewDiePie reality-adventure series is part of the first wave of Red Originals. It will see the star, who has 42 million subscribers to his YouTube channel, face “terrifying situations inspired by his favorite video games”.
Scare PewDiePie is an example of the kind of partnerships YouTube is encouraging for Red’s exclusives: Kjellberg’s multi-channel network (MCN) Maker Studios worked with the executive production company behind The Walking Dead on the show.
The three films debuting on YouTube Red are A Trip to Unicorn Island featuring vlogger and comedian Lilly Singh; superhero film Lazer Team, from production studio Rooster Teeth; and Dance Camp, a musical featuring various YouTubers signed to MCN AwesomenessTV.
YouTube is hoping that exclusive shows and films will persuade some of its 1bn monthly viewers to start paying $9.99 a month for YouTube Red, although its features also include removing advertising; downloading videos for offline viewing; and a bundled subscription to the Google Play Music streaming service.
YouTube has yet to confirm when its new subscription service will expand beyond the US, or which countries it will target first.
In January, British collecting society PRS for Music signed a new music licensing deal with YouTube that included support for YouTube Red “when it launches in the UK and Ireland” – a hint that those may be two of the first non-US countries to get the service.
This article was written by Stuart Dredge, for theguardian.com on Thursday 4th February 2016 09.10 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010