New technologies mean new markets for our work as writers/content creators. But that very expansion can lead to all kinds of new barriers to getting thing out to the public. “Case,” as a certain Mr. Serling used to say, “in point:”
The Road Ahead for YouTube’s TV Plans is Harder Than Ever
by Steve Greene
As things stand in the streaming platform arms race, the competition has separated into tiers. Netflix and Amazon have the longest reach, moving into territories around the globe with catered programming. Hulu has nabbed some awards success and, in “The Handmaid’s Tale,” still has a show that captured public attention in a way that few shows have.
Apple is (still) on the horizon; Facebook is on shaky ground, getting momentum for its content push. So where does that leave YouTube Premium, the SVOD arm of the revolutionary video platform?
Reports surfaced [last week] that YouTube Premium is mulling two major developments. One would see the service slow development of new scripted programming, sticking with its current crop — including the surprise hit “Karate Kid” spinoff “Cobra Kai” — for the near future. (The internal explanation is their slate is well stocked for the next few years.) The other is possibly being open to an ad-supported version of YouTube Premium, which would be in addition to the current $11.99-a-month option for some subscribers. YouTube has placed some of its shows in front of a pay wall and others behind it; this move will eventually place shows in both.
Regardless of whether these moves are seen as mere reworkings, or retreat in the face of a landscape that’s only going to get more crowded with Disney+ and whatever WarnerMedia has cooked up, those aren’t the only challenges. YouTube Premium is a service that has shown occasional promise, but still has a hard road ahead to break into those upper ranks.
Ads and Options
The development of an ad-supported system, on a granular level, is going to give YouTube Premium a problem. Like Hulu before it, which used to present itself as two versions of a product — one with ads and one dubbed Hulu Plus, a subscription that would eliminate ads — YouTube is muddying its own waters as to what people get from paying for the service.
Hulu now exists as largely a unified entity, but that’s only after wrestling with that huge initial branding problem, one that took months — and in some cases, years — to get people to forget that Hulu Plus was ever a thing….