The new documentary series about pop star Justin Bieber gave YouTube a record. A step towards more original content?
© YouTube, Justin Bieber: Seasons
In a few days, YouTube will be 15 years old and is considered the bedrock of internet entertainment. The video platform has been trying to gain a foothold since 2016 with its own original series. At first, this business started rather slowly; the specially created series were behind a paywall and apparently too expensive for the users. Since September 2019, the YouTube Originals have been accessible to everyone – even premium-free for premium members. The most expensive in-house production YouTubes has recently broken a record. Justin Bieber: Seasons had a record number of views in the first week with 32.65 million clicks .
Discovered on YouTube and now the platform’s greatest artist
YouTube has had to fight hard for the rights to the documentary series, but for those who know that Justin Bieber started on YouTube as a twelve-year-old, this only seems appropriate. Five episodes have been released so far, with another one every Monday and Wednesday. The next two are only available for premium members.
In recent years, YouTube has changed not only the online entertainment business, but also the professional world. Many children are now dreaming of a career as a YouTube star, how numerous influencers lead them and how Justin Bieber showed them. He has also recently become the most subscribed artist on the platform, which he celebrated with a tweet.
— Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) February 5, 2020
YouTube Originals: Competing with Netflix and Co.
YouTube put more than $ 20 million into the production of the 10-part documentary series about the pop star, making a clear statement that Originals should continue to exist. The streaming giant Netflix is of course still ahead in terms of in-house productions, but YouTube has the necessary number of users. Only the correct monetization seems to be missing for the Originals, since the original $ 12 a month strategy didn’t work. With new attempts, the platform tries to make the premium model tasty for its users. Most recently, she advertised with free channel memberships for premium members, But there was no response and the originals became accessible to everyone. It can be assumed that not only Justin Bieber’s large fan base, but also this fact contributed to the insane success of the first episode.
Even if the planned monetization approach did not work, the sales figures published for the first time on YouTube make it clear that the business with user-generated content is paying off for the platform. According to Alphabets’ annual report , YouTube generated a total of $ 15.1 billion in sales with advertising alone. In addition, there are also the income of 20 million premium members . However, compared to the $ 20.1 billion that Netflix made with subscribers in 2019, according to Statista , the platform lags behind. While of the approximately 170 million users, approximately 167 million are also paying customers, the situation is different with YouTube: Only 20 million premium users on every two billion users. It remains to be seen whether YouTube will continue to use documentaries about celebrities in the future to generate more sales and attract premium members, or whether it will be time for a change on the platform after a decade and a half.