YouTube to take on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video in India with original programming

CALIFORNIA: Alphabet Inc's YouTube is creating scripted series and other original programming for international markets including France, Germany, Japan, Mexico and India to try to draw new customers to its paid subscription service, a senior executive said on Friday.

The programming will come in the form of multiple genres such as music documentaries, reality series, talk shows and scripted series, Susanne Daniels, YouTube's global head of original programming, said in an interview. It will be produced in local languages and subtitled or dubbed for other markets.

Some of the programming will appear on YouTube Premium, the monthly subscription service formerly called YouTube Red. Other content will be available on YouTube's free service with advertising.

"We are targeting markets where we believe we have a tremendous upside in potential subscribers," Daniels said.

YouTube already has released a handful of original shows in South Korea and one in India, a talk show in Hindi about cricket. Called "UnCricket," the show has performed "beyond expectations," Daniels said.

Daniels also said a reality show starring K-Pop group Big Bang had boosted subscriptions, and that 50% of the new customers came from outside of Korea.

More details about the new international slate will be released in the coming weeks, she said.

YouTube will be competing with companies including Netflix Inc and Amazon.com Inc that are investing in local language programming for online audiences around the world.

The first original shows from YouTube debuted on its premium service in 2016, starting with series from some of the platform's most popular video creators. It added programming from Hollywood stars and also released a batch of children's shows including Emmy-winning "Fruit Ninja Frenzy Force."

There are no current plans for more original children's programming, Daniels said. The YouTube Kids app serves that younger audience, she said, and the company does not believe children's content will drive subscriptions to YouTube Premium at this time.

 

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