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YouTube identifying most engaging stars, top genres to create original content

MUMBAI: Online video platform YouTube’s focus on creating original content will revolve around identifying its most engaging stars and top genres and invest in content that fans want.

A report in Mipblog notes that, with the launch of the YouTube Red subscription service, YouTube is doing content commissioning, working with its online stars, multi-channel networks and traditional producers alike to source shows that will persuade viewers to start paying for content.

YouTube’s global head of original content Susanne Daniels delivered a keynote at the ongoing TV trade event Mipcom to talk about the company’s strategy. She was joined by Lionsgate Television Group chairman Kevin Beggs to talk about a new partnership, as well as video game-focused production studio Rooster Teeth chief creative officer Burnie Burns, which has been one of the success stories in the online video world.

Children’s favourite celebrities often are not what one might consider TV or film stars.

Susanne Daniels“YouTube is a place where individualism thrives, diversity flourishes, and where new content formats are launched every single day. Our goal is to be uniquely YouTube, and our thesis is simple: identify YouTube’s most engaging stars and top genres, and invest in the content that their fans tell us they want,” Daniels said.

The Mipblog report notes that these projects often pair top YouTubers with ‘Hollywood’s finest’ production companies: for example gamer PewDiePie working with the production company behind ‘The Walking Dead’. Daniels also said that the YouTube community is driving the diversity of its content. For example, one show with an all-Asian cast was turned down by Hollywood, but attracted millions of fans on YouTube. One of the YouTube Red shows is ‘Broke’, which has been praised for its ‘authentic African-American roles’. She also pointed to a documentary set for 2017, called ‘Gigi Gorgeous’, about the transexual actress, model and YouTube personality.

Daniels also talked about the importance of new genres on YouTube, from gaming to dance. Beggs, meanwhile, spoke about his studio’s partnership with YouTube. “We want Susanne and the platform to succeed,” he said.

He also compared YouTube’s investment in original content to other platforms that Lionsgate has partnered that led to shows like ‘Weeds’ on Showtime, ‘Mad Men’ on AMC and ‘Orange is the New Black’ on Netflix.

“When I see YouTube go out and recruit an executive like Susanne Daniels… and when I see their commitment, it’s exciting. It feels like another great opportunity for Lionsgate as a studio to create network-defining content. And here’s the thing about new platforms: they’re willing to try new things. They’re willing to innovate… They’re willing to give their series a level of commitment that incumbents just won’t,” elaborated Beggs.

Lionsgate has worked with a number of YouTube stars in film and TV, and its new project is a spin-off from feature-film franchise ‘Step Up’, revealed Beggs. “’Step Up’ is now going to air on the platform where it belongs,” he said.

“YouTube was willing to be bold. They gave us a full-season order when others only offered a pilot… Partnering YouTube Red on this series and tapping into their international fan base was a no-brainer for us… I’d like to say we’re helping YouTube take a step up, but that’s just a little too cheesy! But we believe in Susanne, we believe in YouTube Red, we believe in the community, and we think ‘Step-Up’ is just the beginning.”