YouTube will launch its first ever original programming on its Red paid subscription service Feb. 10, aiming to entice fans of several top digital stars to pay a $10 monthly fee to see their content first.
The four shows, which were announced in October as YouTube unveiled Red, include a program from Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg, the video site’s biggest channel with nearly 42 million followers.
The original shows will officially introduce one of the biggest perks of a YouTube Red subscription, which also strips out ads and lets users watch videos offline.
Google’s video site is riffing on the original-content strategy that turned Netflix into a deep-pocketed Hollywood force. Like Netflix, YouTube is making shows it knows have built-in audiences thanks to its trove of viewership data. But rather than investing in projects with high-profile traditional stars, it’s tapping the young creators who rose to prominence on its site.
YouTube is hoping that the stars’ avid fanbases can’t pass up the chance to see their idols’ shows as soon as possible, generating new $10 monthly members. The shows will be exclusive to YouTube Red for an unspecified amount of time before they eventually move to YouTube’s free version.
Susanne Daniels, YouTube’s global head of original content, said in a blog post that the “creators behind these films have already built massive audiences on YouTube, rivaling many cable shows.”
People who haven’t tried Red before can sign up for a free one-month trial.