YouTube's chief business officer Robert Kyncl said in November that many of its originals, which are currently available to YouTube Premium subscribers, would soon be accessible for free. They include a mix of films (The Thinning, Viper Club), reality shows starring YouTubers (Scare PewDiePie, Prank Academy), series (Wayne, Impulse), and documentaries (BTS Burn the Stage, Ariana Grande: Dangerous Woman Diaries).
It's biggest hit has been Cobra Kai, a Karate Kid reboot that's among the tiny number of shows to be renewed, and is reportedly now set for a third season, per Bloomberg. But that's a smaller series that bucked a-list stars and expensive CGI set-pieces in favor of pure nostalgia. Eventually, all originals will reportedly make their way to YouTube free of charge.
What YouTube won't be gambling on is a tentpole in the vein of Amazon's upcoming Lord of the Rings series. Neither does it seem keen to follow Netflix in setting aside a $12 billion originals budget. It's not like YouTube parent Google doesn't have the cash, but that hasn't stopped others from failing. The streaming wars are littered with casualties, from Yahoo! Screen to Comcast's SeeSo and Target Ticket. It seems YouTube has opted to leave the battlefield before it gets even more crowded with the launch of Apple and Disney's respective services.