YouTube to reduce YouTube Originals division moving forward

The division is essentially being shut down.

Image via YouTube

After six years of working on various productions, YouTube is officially ending its current operations of the YouTube Originals division.

The subsect of YouTube won’t be completely discontinued, but the Google-owned video service is significantly downsizing its Originals operations moving forward. 

YouTube’s chief business officer Robert Kyncl noted that this decision was made as part of a larger refocusing effort within the company centered around the continued growth of YouTube’s Partner Program, which now boats more than two million creators. The platform has paid out more than $30 billion to creators, artists, and media companies over the last three years and it wants to explore new opportunities in areas where investments could create a greater impact. 

Instead of a wide base of Originals being worked on behind the scenes, YouTube will now focus on funding programs related to its Black Voices and YouTube Kids Funds. There was also mention of continued use of the Creator Shorts Fund and Live Shopping programming.

The platform will be honoring its commitment to shows already in progress. Creators who are involved in any of those projects will be contacted shortly. 

The Originals division, which was created in 2016, was previously headed by YouTube’s global head of original content Susanne Daniels, who will be leaving the company in March after seven years. 

While in full production, the YouTube Originals brand created multiple shows featuring prominent creators from the platform, such as YIAY Time: The Game Show with jacksfilms, documentaries, musical performances, and unscripted content from notable celebrities such as Will Smith, Kevin Hart, Taylor Swift, and more. Arguably its most successful product was Cobra Kai, the Karate Kid sequel series that released two seasons as a YouTube Original before being picked up by Netflix for a third season in 2019, hitting a much bigger audience and seeing a second wave of success.