YouTube Red will launch its first slate of original content on its subscription service next week on February 10, the site’s official blog announced on Wednesday. Like Netflix, the service will include original content in the form of four feature-length films and documentaries.
The first lineup of shows will include Scare PewDiePie, a comedic “reality-adventure series” from the creators of The Walking Dead, which will involve the main character encountering situations from his favorite video games; feature-length film Dance Camp about discovering yourself through the power of dance (let’s assume it’s more epic than it sounds); Lazer Team, an action-comedy movie about how “four small town losers stumble upon an alien ship carrying a mysterious cargo, leading to a battle to save Earth from an all-powerful enemy” which better be as epic as it sounds; and A Trip to Unicorn Island, a documentary about Lilly Singh and her quest to spread happiness throughout the world (reindeer not included).
YouTube Red launched in late October 2015 as a $9.99 per month subscription service that removes ads and offers premium access to music. The launch was coupled with the promise of exclusive access to original YouTube series and films, which will begin next week.
“With YouTube Red Originals, we want to help them tell bigger and bolder stories that delight you, their fans,” the announcement declared. “YouTube Red is your opportunity to support the passion projects your favorite creators have only dreamed about until now.”
There are several incomplete projects that YouTube Red announced in October. YouTuber Joey Graceffa will produce a “reality adventure series” that brings top YouTube personalities together to solve murder mysteries; YouTube educator MatPat’s 360 VR series that examines the science behind big name video games; Single by 30, a romantic comedy series starring Harry Shum, Jr. and Kina Grannis; social experiment reality show Fight of the Living Dead that places people in a zombie apocalypse scenario they must survive; I Am Tobuscus, a comedy about someone trying to go big on YouTube; and an untitled CollegeHumor project (which, in this writer’s opinion, is always a risk).
Most Western countries will have access to renting and purchasing YouTube Red Original TV shows and movies, with some glaring exceptions. Israelis won’t be able to enjoy the service, at least according to YouTube Support. Several Latin American locations like Chile and Peru are also disconnected for now. The same goes for China, but Hong Kong residents will be able to sign up.
“And these series and movies are just the beginning. We have lots more thrills, chills, LOLs, smiles, romances and surprises from more of your favorite YouTube stars coming later this year,” YouTube promised.
In the meantime, Netflix announced it will be adding HDR content to its streaming service. It will be a step above the 1080p (HD) and occassional 4K resolution it offers. And given that YouTube Red hasn’t started licensing non-original content for its subscription services (despite the occasionally pirated video on the regular YouTube site), it’s got a ways to go to catch up with current industry leader Netflix.
“I think HDR is more visibly different than 4K,” Netflix CPO Neil Hunt recently told Digital Trends. “Over the past 15 years, we have had plenty of increments of pixels on the screen, and from what we saw with digital cameras, pixel count eventually stopped being interesting.”