YouTube kicks off AVOD strategy for originals, slates Johnny Cash doc

In advance of the launch of new players in the streaming game such as Apple TV+, Disney+, Quibi and HBO Max, Google-owned video platform YouTube has begun to implement its ...
August 30, 2019

In advance of the launch of new players in the streaming game such as Apple TV+, Disney+, Quibi and HBO Max, Google-owned video platform YouTube has begun to implement its recently revamped content strategy, by dropping its paywall for new original series and specials, and offering all its programming released after Sept. 24 through an ad-supported model.

Paying subscribers to the existing YouTube Premium will continue to have access to ad-free YouTube Originals, with all episodes available to them at once to binge as compared to the slower roll-out of episodes in front of the paywall. Subscribers will also have exclusive access to director’s cuts and bonus content released with Originals, when available.

Among the slate of upcoming Originals to be made available for free is The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash (pictured), which was announced yesterday as part of the 2019 Telluride Film Festival lineup, premiering globally on YouTube Oct. 8.

The 90-minute film premiered at SXSW and was made with the cooperation of the Cash estate. It features recently discovered archival material as well as interviews with the late country star’s family and celebrated collaborators.

An Imperative Entertainment and Kennedy/Marshall production, in association with Sutter Road Picture Company and The John R Cash Trust, The Gift is produced by Thom Zimny, Glen Zipper, Sean Stuart and Jillian Apfelbaum, with Frank Marshall, Ryan Suffern, Jeff Pollack, John Carter Cash, Josh Matas, Dan Friedkin, Bradley Thomas, Ryan Friedkin and Jasmine Daghighian serving as executive producers.

Meanwhile, YouTube has unveiled new docuseries launching this fall, alongside returning hits. The School Of…, premiering in October, is a series of standalone films in which diverse YouTube creators contemplate the big philosophical questions of our age.

Virtually History, created in partnership with Remarkable TV, part of EndemolShine UK, is a 30-minute special commemorating the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall from the perspective of people with family connections to the historic event who join YouTubers on a VR-enabled trip back in time. It launches Nov. 6.

Finally, The Edge of Science, coming out in December and first announced last week, is produced by the BBC Studios Science Unit and follows Colin Furze and other passionate YouTube science creators as they team up with Cambridge University scholar, podcaster and writer Rick Edwards to put the most “out there” ideas in science to the test.

“Today, we are welcoming a global audience to enjoy our award-winning series and specials,” said Robert Kyncl, chief business officer for YouTube, in a statement. “We see a tremendous opportunity to develop more region-specific content, particularly in Europe, Asia and Latin America, and will continue to partner with the biggest stars and creators in the world to share their stories and voices.”

“YouTube propels popular culture and our new slate reflects our unmatched opportunity to celebrate the best and brightest parts of the platform,” added Susanne Daniels, YouTube’s global head of original content. “We are now developing new series and specials centered on fan-favorite areas like music, personalities and life-long learning that will entertain and inspire a global audience.”

Watch a teaser for The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash below:

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