For the third season in a row, Rocket Jump has released the financial breakdown behind the production of “Video Game High School.” The aim of doing this, in part, is for the creators of the YouTube series, Freddie Wong and Matt Arnold, to show viewers that putting out such a polished series isn’t cheap…even if it is a series on YouTube.
How not cheap is it? The total cost of “VGHS” season three came to $2,435,434. That’s over $1 million more than it cost to produce season two (at $1,339,558) and way more money than went into season one ($636,010).
This in partially because “VGHS” got longer as the series progressed, increasing about an hour from last season’s run time, with each episode lasting about 40 minutes. Still, the cost per episode looks like nothing next to network TV shows of similar lengths. While “VGHS” costs about $415,000 per episode, shows like “The Walking Dead” and “Breaking Bad” go for about $3 million per episode (well, $2.8 million for the former), not to mention HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” which requires a hefty $6 million per installment.
Ultimately, the increased spending on “VGHS” season three looks like it paid off. Viewership went up since the last season by about 200,000, and average audience retention was solid — 85% of viewers stuck around after the 50 seconds of each episode.
All that being said, Wong doesn’t think YouTube’s ad-supported model makes sense for costly, long-form content like “VGHS,” which has already had its full run on the platform, anyway. “That’s a big part of why we signed our deal with Lionsgate, and are putting our next show on Hulu,” he said. “If you want to make shows to the scale of ‘VGHS,’ YouTube is not the place.”
Check out the full breakdown for production costs of “VGHS” season three below. Feel free to compare that to last season, as well.