Starting next week, YouTube will officially compete with streaming sites like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon to win over viewers (and creators) of exclusive, premium original content. That's not to say that we should expect see YouTube start taking home Emmys next year—although, who knows?—but the 10-year-old video site is pushing further into "original programming" territory as it tries to rope in paying subscribers.
Beginning February 10, YouTube Red subscribers will get access to four new original shows and movies from YouTube creators like Rooster Teeth, Maker Studios, and AwesomenessTV, featuring YouTube personalities like Lilly Singh and PewDiePie.
The new programming will be available exclusively to people who pay for YouTube's new premium subscription tier YouTube Red. The subscription plan, first announced in October, offers a bundle of perks for the usual $10 per month: Ad-free videos, offline video viewing, in-the-background audio on mobile, and access to services like YouTube Music, Google Play Music, and YouTube Gaming.
To sweeten the deal, YouTube is also throwing in these new series as well. It's a modest offering to start out with, but it's just the beginning. Over time, YouTube hopes to reel in more and more paying subscribers with new shows and movies and, presumably, other perks.
Like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon, YouTube has been pouring more and more money into original programming in the last few years. And although mega-hits like Netflix's Orange Is The New Black and House of Cards remain relatively rare, the push into this territory continues as TV viewing shifts online. For its part, YouTube has been investing heavily in new programming like this and building out film and production studios like its YouTube Space L.A., a huge, multi-set studio with state-of-the-art equipment and editing bays, which YouTube creators of any stripe can use for free. Reportedly, some parts of the new PewDiePie show were filmed in one of these new creator studios. YouTube now also operates spaces like this in London, New York, Tokyo, Sao Paulo, Berlin, Paris, and Mumbai, with more planned.
Below is a complete list of the new YouTube Red programs, according to a press release from the company:
A Trip to Unicorn Island: From the team at Astronauts Wanted, this feature-length movie gives fans an extraordinary look inside the life and journey of Lilly Singh as she embarks on a challenging 26-city global tour where she has to remember to practice what she preaches: Happiness is the only thing worth fighting for.
Dance Camp: This feature film from AwesomenessTV weaves an amazing story of unlikely friendships, unleashing passions and discovering yourself all through the power of dance.
Lazer Team: In this feature-length action-comedy from Rooster Teeth and Fullscreen Films, four small-town losers stumble upon an alien ship carrying a mysterious cargo, leading to a battle to save Earth from an all-powerful enemy.
Scare PewDiePie: In this reality-adventure series from the creator and executive producers of The Walking Dead at Skybound Entertainment and Maker Studios, experience thrills, chills, and laughter as PewDiePie encounters terrifying situations inspired by his favorite video games.