YouTube is in a “little bit of a transition” in terms of its original commissioning strategy, according to its European content exec Luke Hyams.
Hyams, who is Head of Originals, YouTube, EMEA, confirmed that the digital platform is not looking for scripted projects and has commissioned a slew of non-scripted projects.
This comes after Deadline revealed that it had stepped up its scripted pullback in the States, with three projects previously earmarked for its YouTube Premium service, Step Up: High Water from Lionsgate TV, Wayne from Endeavor Content, and Dark Cargo from Entertainment One, looking for new homes. The pullback is part of a programming strategy shift for YouTube as it is moving from an SVOD (subscription supported video on demand) to an AVOD (ad-supported video on demand) model with a focus on music, learning and personalities fare.
Speaking at the Edinburgh International TV Festival, Hyams said, “In terms of broad scripted stuff we’re not looking for scripted material at the moment. We feel the unscripted space is really exciting at the moment, particularly as there’s so much ability to crossover with what the really successful talent are already doing themselves on YouTube.”
“In terms of where we’re at, it’s an incredibly exciting time to be commissioning for YouTube. We have had a little bit of a transition in terms of we are now producing shows that will live on the free side of the paywall, so we have the opportunity to reach the 2B people that log on to YouTube every month worldwide,” he said, adding that it didn’t want to “stand in the way of the whole world seeing our shows”.
This comes as it ordered three new series, The Edge of Science from BBC Studios, virtual reality history format Virtually History from Endemol Shine’s Remarkable TV and a partnership with educational organization The School of Life.
The Edge of Science, which is BBC Studios first original YouTube commission, stars British presenter Rick Edwards, who hosts a popular science podcast, and YouTube stuntman, inventor and filmmaker Colin Furze. It will see Furze and other passionate YouTube science creators team up with Edwards to put the most ‘out there’ ideas in science to the test, with a range of stunts and experiments to explore if it’s really possible to levitate. Rick and his team of expert science and education creators will meet the scientists behind cutting edge research into acoustic and quantum levitation and test their theories through various stunts that will challenge viewers’ understanding of the world. It premieres in December.
Virtually History, created in partnership with the Endemol Shine indie Remarkable TV, is a 30-minute special about the fall of the Berlin wall. It brings a new immersive way for history to be brought to life with three people with a family connection to the wall and three YouTubers transported back in time via virtual reality to experience what is was like to live through this unprecedented moment in European history. It premieres on November 6.
Finally, The School Of… sees the digital platform collaborate with a group of the world’s most diverse YouTube creators to explore philosophical questions. A series of standalone films including Should I Marry Someone I Don’t Love?, Will The Next Picasso Be A Robot? and Is Democracy Dangerous? Are part of the series which features The Martinez Twins, Hannah Stocking, Luzu, Lady Leshurr and Adam Saleh. It launches in October.