YouTube has been around for over a decade, but it wasn't until just a few years ago that content creators could start earning a living. Since then, the YouTube business has exploded — people can make a lot of money just by uploading videos to the site, and entire companies have been formed around this model. Personalities like Pewdiepie and Smosh are YouTube celebrities, while companies like Rooster Teeth are basically YouTube-centric studios.
However, YouTube itself hasn't produced much in the way of content. Sure, the site has done a lot for up-and-coming channels, but in terms of producing its own original content, YouTube has definitely stuck to the sidelines for a long time. There have been a few instances in which larger projects came together as a result of the site's bigger personalities, but YouTube, as a company, had almost nothing to do with them. For all intents and purposes, YouTube is a host for content, not a producer... until now.
The announcement came as something of a surprise, but the decision makes a whole lot of sense: YouTube is finally entering the content market, with the site stating that it would begin producing a wealth of new, original series.
From the looks of things, YouTube isn't tiptoeing in, either — four new series and a number of full-length feature films are in the works, all featuring some of the site's biggest names.
First up are two new comedy series: the first will feature Smosh, which is one of the most well-known comedy channels on the Internet; the second will feature the Fine Bros., hosts of the popular REACT series. Details on both shows are slim, as YouTube has only provided a brief synopsis. Smosh's series will focus on its stars running their own restaurant, while the new Fine Bros. series will take a satirical look at music-based reality TV.
Prank vs. Prank is about as self-explanatory as it sounds, and from what YouTube has released, the channel's new show will go largely unchanged from the content that inspired it — think Punk'd with more celebrity guest-hosts mixed in with series regulars.
The Joey Graceffa show is by far the strangest — while his channel was originally known for vlog-style videos, the new project will be an "all-new murder mystery reality series" that features "an all-star cast of YouTubers." What exactly this means is yet unknown, but it sounds radically different from anything else that YouTube is looking to put out.
Finally, YouTube announced that it would partner with AwesomenessTV to film and produce a number of feature films over the course of two years, with each project being helmed by some of the site's biggest content creators. While YouTube didn't mention any specific channels, it's easy to imagine that the site would tap into talents like Freddie Wong or Pewdiepie.
It seems that Netflix's success with its own original content hasn't gone unnoticed. It'll be interesting to see if YouTube's new content will be successful — but given the number of users who visit the site everyday, it's unlikely that YouTube's new shows will be hurting for views.
For all of the details on the site's new projects, head on over to the official YouTube blog.