YouTube Pulls Back from Original Series, Report Says

March 25, 2019, 4:26 PM UTC

YouTube appears to be backing off of its strategy of high-end originals, as competitors such as Apple dive further into the streaming video space.

A report on Bloomberg says the Google-owned service is no longer taking pitches for expensive scripted shows and has cancelled two of its higher profile programs, the sci-fi show Origin and the comedy Overthinking With Kat & June. Cobra Kai, the series based on The Karate Kid films, has seen the biggest success and negotiations are currently underway for a third season, according to Bloomberg.

As part of the strategic shift, all YouTube shows, even those that are part of the site’s YouTube Red pay service, eventually will air for free. The timetable for that shift is still being worked out.

The changes at YouTube come as several other services, including Yahoo, have pulled back or shut down their original video hubs due to the high cost of competing against Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu.

Since 2015, YouTube has commissioned more than a dozen high-profile shows. Suzanne Daniels, whose resume lists leadership stints at Lifetime and the WB and who championed Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dawson’s Creek, currently serves as head of original productions. She has created shows that feature everything from YouTube celebrities, such as PewDiePie, to traditional Hollywood actors.

Daniels is said to be looking to leave YouTube, according to Bloomberg, despite her statement that she remains committed to the streaming service.

Last week, Google announced Stadia, its streaming platform for video games that will incorporate YouTube content creators. It’s unclear if this new unit was a factor in the company’s decision in pulling back from original series.