At its first TCA presentation, YouTube Red announced the pickup of Legendary Digital Studio’s The Thinning, starring digital star Logan Paul and Disney darling Peyton List. The feature, premiering in the fall, is set in a dying world where population control is achieved by an aptitude test taken in high school. When the heroes discover that the test is all smoke and mirrors that hides a larger conspiracy, they must expose it to take it down.
Also announced at the YouTube space in Playa del Rey today was a sequel to the film Lazer Team from Rooster Teeth and Fullscreen. The science fiction action comedy follows a group of small-town losers who stumble upon an alien ship carrying cargo, prompting a battle to save Earth. The original film debuted on the subscription-based service in February.
Coming on August 17 is Fight Of The Living Dead: Experiment 88, a reality competition series featuring 10 YouTube stars as they attempt to survive a zombie apocalypse over the course of three days. Also, How To Survive High School‘s Eva Gutowski has a new generational buddy comedy that follows a twentysomething and her grandma as they try to make it in Hollywood.
Susanne Daniels, VP of YouTube Originals, moderated the panels. The former MTV exec compared YouTube’s audience reach to that of MTV, noting that the largest number of people reached by an MTV series episode was 3 million, and an event like the Music Video Awards could hit 8 million. “At YouTube we reach over a billion people every single month,” she said, “including more 18-49 year olds on mobile than any broadcast or cable network I’d ever worked for.”
She added, “This platform has more power to reach an audience and is more influential than traditional television. That’s one of the reasons I was so excited to join YouTube.”
Daniels conceded that comparing numbers between the platforms is tricky. “I think there needs to be a more accurate system,” she said. “I was never happy with Nielsen’s [rating system] when I was at the network. I don’t think there is a great system anywhere. We can track exactly what people are doing. I don’t think it can get fairer than what we are reporting for YouTube.”