LOS ANGELES — YouTube is taking on Netflix with a new subscription channel stocked with original programming.
YouTube Red will feature original shows from YouTube performers like PewDiePie, Lilly Singh and the Fine Brothers that will be seen first to folks who pay $9.99 for their monthly, ad-free, subscription. The service launches Wednesday, October 28th, but the new originals won’t launch until early 2016.
The service will also offer access to a new YouTube music app, YouTube Music, which replaces YouTube Music Key, the previous name, and YouTube’s gaming app. The music app launches later this year.
Subscription offers access to YouTube, ad-free, on all platforms: computer, mobile and TV.
“This is a major evolution for our platform,” said Robert Kyncl, YouTube’s Chief Business Officer at a splashy press event here at YouTube’s L.A. production space. “We’re giving fans a new way to enjoy YouTube.”
Earlier this year, a new video subscription service, Vessel, launched, offering YouTube performers a place to debut their new stuff, in exchange for a bigger cut of ad revenues.
Homegrown performers on YouTube have emerged as a major force in entertainment, attracting millions of young viewers, and branching out to movies, TV shows and books. At the same time, entertainment services like Netflix and Hulu have proven the popularity of subscriptions for original programming, with shows like “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black.”
However, Kyncl says his offering is much different from Netflix’s selection of movies, TV shows and originals.
“This is our way of doing it,” he said. “Our service is completely different from Netflix. It offers premium features, with a new way to enjoy music, and some original content from people who have become really popular on YouTube. This is 180 degrees different from what Netflix is doing.”
In putting together this original programming strategy, YouTube hired a veteran TV programmer, Susanne Daniels, formerly of MTV, Lifetime and the WB (now known as the CW.)
Follow USA TODAY tech columnist and #TalkingTech host Jefferson Graham on Twitter, where he’s @jeffersongraham.
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