YouTube recently officially kicked off its new strategy of making its original series and specials free with ads by dropping the critically-acclaimed and fan-favorite first season of “Cobra Kai” in front of the paywall for a limited time with season 2 premiering on September 11.
Previously, only the first two episodes of season 1 and the first episode of season 2 were available to sample in front of the paywall. Beginning today, fans without a YouTube Premium subscription can binge watch the entire first season of “Cobra Kai.” On Wednesday, September 11, season 2 will premiere in front of the paywall for a limited time with one episode dropping each week. “Cobra Kai” is an international smash with the first episode of season 1 boasting nearly 55 million views and the first episode of season 2 besting the season 1 premiere by 136%, making it the fastest YouTube Original to hit 20 million views in just 6 days. Production on season 3 will begin shortly. The series, produced by Sony Pictures Television, is written and executive produced by Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg.
As part of the new strategy, for the first time, YouTube’s audience of 2 billion logged in monthly users will have the opportunity to enjoy new YouTube original series and specials released after September 24, 2019 for free with ads. YouTube’s subscription service, YouTube Premium, will continue to offer ad-free access to all YouTube Originals with all episodes available to them at once to binge. Additionally, YouTube Premium subscribers will have exclusive access to director’s cuts and bonus content of YouTube Originals when available. The news follows record growth for YouTube Originals, with total views of the full slate growing more than 40% compared to last year.
“Today, we are welcoming a global audience to enjoy our award-winning series and specials,” said Robert Kyncl, Chief Business Officer for YouTube. “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,” said Susanne Daniels, 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.”
As part of the kickoff, YouTube today announced the greenlight and premiere date for “The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash,” a new slate of five original European series, including “Virtually History,” a special that takes a personal look at the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall through the eyes of those with family members connected to the moment in history, and season 2 premiere dates for “Liza on Demand” (September 25) and “Impulse” (October 16) along with free windows to catch up on each series’ first season.
“The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash” (premiering Tuesday, October 8)
The film, which world premiered at SXSW 2019 and was created with the full cooperation of the Cash estate and rich in recently discovered archival materials, brings Cash the man out from behind the legend. Taking the remarkable Folsom Prison recording as a central motif and featuring interviews with family and celebrated collaborators, the 90-minute documentary explores the artistic victories, the personal tragedies, the struggles with addiction, and the spiritual pursuits that colored Johnny Cash’s life. “The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash” is directed by Thom Zimny and produced by Thom Zimny, Glen Zipper, Sean Stuart and Jillian Apfelbaum. Frank Marshall, Ryan Suffern, Jeff Pollack, John Carter Cash, Josh Matas, Dan Friedkin, Bradley Thomas, Ryan Friedkin and Jasmine Daghighian serve as executive producers. The documentary is an Imperative Entertainment and Kennedy/Marshall production in association with Sutter Road Picture Company and The John R Cash Trust. The original composition for this project was composed and performed by Mike McCready, and the companion soundtrack to the film, The Gift: The Journey Of Johnny Cash (The Original Soundtrack) will be released in the fall of 2019 by Legacy Recordings, a division of Sony Music Entertainment.
NEW EUROPEAN SLATE:
“The School Of…” (Premiering October)
This series sees the hugely successful YouTube philosophy channel The School of Life collaborated with a group of the world’s most interesting and diverse YouTube creators to explore some of the greatest philosophical questions of our age. In a series of stand alone films that includes titles like ‘Should I Marry Someone I Don’t Love?’, ‘Will The Next Picasso Be A Robot?’ and ‘Is Democracy Dangerous?’, the creators tackle the subjects in a relatable and impactful manner, encouraging their audiences to see each topic in a whole new light. Creators featured in season one include The Martinez Twins, Hannah Stocking, Luzu, Lady Leshurr and Adam Saleh.
“Virtually History” (Premiering November 6)
Created in partnership with Remarkable TV (part of EndemolShine UK), this 30 min special is launching on the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall brings an immersive new way for history to be brought to life. Three people with a family connection to the Berlin Wall and three YouTubers will be transported back in time through the power of VR, to experience what it was like to live through this unprecedented moment in European history. Three photographs depict a different and important moment in the history of the Berlin Wall will be recreated in stunning VR and offer a very unique and emotional lens on the powerful human stories that lie behind the history of the wall. As our contributors dramatically step into the virtual recreations of their family’s past with our historian host, simultaneously a group of profile YouTube creators will follow their journey, allowing for the past to be experienced first hand, across generations and continents as never before.
“The Edge of Science” (Premiering December)
Produced by BBC Studios Science Unit, Colin Furze and other passionate YouTube science creators team up with Cambridge University scholar, podcaster and writer Rick Edwards to put the most ‘out there’ ideas in science to the test in an ambitious range of stunts and experiments. Groundbreaking and pioneering, this special will explore the science behind levitation investigating whether science can make the impossible possible. Our intrepid team head off to meet the scientists behind cutting edge research into acoustic and quantum levitation and put their theories to the test, with a range of stunts that will challenge our understanding of the world as we know it. They’re even going to attempt to break a world record along the way. A future of flying trains, walking on water and in which rain fall upwards, is closer than we think. The Edge of Science will premiere on the BBC Earth YouTube Channel.
In the coming months, YouTube will roll out a new Latin America-focused slate at Brandcast Brazil and Mexico.
This fall, two of YouTube’s most popular series, “Liza on Demand” and “Impulse,” return for their sophomore seasons.
“Liza on Demand” (S2 premieres September 25 – watch the trailer below; S1 now available for free streaming here for a limited time)
With more than 37 million views on the first episode of season 1, YouTube creator Liza Koshy is back alongside Kimiko Glenn and Travis Coles for season two of “Liza on Demand.” Season 2 brings even more misadventures with Liza (Liza Koshy) and her roommates Harlow (Kimiko Glenn) and Oliver (Travis Coles), as they navigate trends, friends, and making ends meet. From going off the grid to competitive decluttering, from getting lost in obsessive photo editing to putting on a musical about gentrification, Liza, Harlow and Oliver dive humorously headlong into current issues like body image, racism, and “compare and despair.” Whether it’s lowering their dating standards to basement level or taking on bar trivia night as “Threeyoncé”, this diverse group of friends navigates the often confusing but always entertaining journey of being young, single, and clinging to your optimism for dear life. Fans without YouTube Premium can binge watch the entire first season on YouTube now and watch new episodes of Season 2 for free as they premiere each week, in each case for a limited time. Premium members will have ad-free access to all episodes at once on September 25 to binge. The series is produced by Above Average, a digital-first entertainment company founded in 2012 by Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Video. Liza Koshy, Deborah Kaplan (Can’t Hardly Wait) Harry Elfont (Can’t Hardly Wait, Josie & The Pussycats and Mary + Jane) and Courtney Carter serve as executive producers on the series, with Sam Childs serving as producer.
“Impulse” (S2 premieres October 16; S1 available for free streaming here)
Following more than 53 million views of the first episode of season 1, “Impulse” will return with an all new season on October 16. Maddie Hasson stars as Henrietta “Henry” Coles, a rebellious 17-year-old girl who has always felt different from her peers and longs to escape from her seemingly quaint small town. During a traumatic event, Henry discovers she has the extraordinary ability to teleport, and her newfound power confirms Henry’s conviction that she really was different from everybody else — but it now makes her the focus of those who want to control her. Missi Pyle stars as Henry’s mother, Cleo Coles. The series is produced by UCP (Universal Content Productions), Hypnotic and showrunner and executive producer Lauren LeFranc. Hypnotic’s Doug Liman, David Bartis and Gene Klein serve as executive producers. Vladimir Cvetko and Mairzee Almas serve as co-executive producers. You can view a first look of season two here. Fans without YouTube Premium can binge watch the entire first season on YouTube now and watch new episodes of season 2 for free as they premiere each week, in each case for a limited time. Premium members will have ad-free access to all episodes at once on October 16 to binge.