YouTube is scaling back its original content division, YouTube Originals, six years after the release of its first original title. YouTube Originals launched in 2016 in a bid to compete in the original content boom with Netflix and Amazon and over the course of its lifetime commissioned over 200 titles. By comparison, since 2016 Amazon has released over 500 titles, and Netflix has released over 2.700 Originals, Ampere Analysis highlighted in its latest report.
YouTube Originals began with a slate of primarily scripted TV shows and movies available to YouTube Premium (then, YouTube Red) subscribers before shifting its strategy to ad-funded unscripted programming in 2019. While original content may not have taken off for YouTube, the platform’s sustained success in attracting large audiences across the globe is due to its user-generated content.
YouTube’s partner programme allows eligible content creators on its platform to retain 55% of the revenue generated from ads served during their videos. According to Ampere Analysis, in 2021 YouTube generated over $28 billion in advertising revenue. “If we were to assume all of this revenue were generated via creators in its partner programme, YouTube would have paid out over $15 billion in 2021. This content investment is $1 billion more than Netflix’s total content spend in the same period, and behind only Comcast and Disney,” said Hannah Walsh, Research Manager at Ampere Analysis and the author of the report.