YouTube to Fund Original Series From The Fine Brothers, Smosh
The Google-owned streaming video platform has also struck a deal with AwesomenessTV to produce several feature films over the next two years.
YouTube is lifting the curtain on its original content plans.
The Google-owned streaming platform plans to fund new series from four top creators, head of originals Alex Carloss revealed in a blog post on Tuesday.
The projects that will result from the partnership include a scripted comedy series from Benny and Rafi Fine that will provide a satirical take on singing competition shows. The duo, who as The Fine Brothers have more than 17 million YouTube subscribers and 3 billion views, will produce the show with Mandeville Films.
Jesse Wellens and Jeana Smith, the team behind YouTube channel Prank vs. Prank, have created a new series that will feature celebrity guests who join in helping them pull off their most ambitious pranks yet. The couple began pulling pranks on each other six years ago and have built a following of nearly 14 million subscribers and nearly 3 billion views.
Vlogger Joey Graceffa, who has attracted 5 million subscribers and more than 600 million views for his slate of scripted series, short films and candid videos, will star in a murder-mystery reality series featuring a cast of well-known YouTubers.
Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla, the pair behind the Smosh comedy brand, will star in a comedy series about a themed restaurant where they face out-of-control kids and crazy parents. Collectively, the Smosh channels have more than 35 million subscribers and more than 7 billion views.
"We're beyond excited to partner with YouTube on this new series that represents our next step in creating longer-format programming that our audience is eager to watch," the Smosh duo said in a statement. "To see our vision come to life on the platform where it all began means so much to us."
YouTube has also struck a deal with DreamWorks Animation's AwesomenessTV to release several feature films over the next two years. The projects, which will follow a similar model as Expelled, the Cameron Dallas vehicle that ATV produced, marketed through the social reach of its stars and distributed digitally last year, will star YouTube creators and will be developed and produced by ATV CEO Brian Robbins. The films will premiere globally on YouTube before they are distributed elsewhere.
"We work with amazing creators to make great short-form content on YouTube every day," said Robbins. "We think the platform is really ready for long form, so now we will make movies that will star YouTubers and premiere on YouTube. We will turn YouTube stars into movie stars."
YouTube announced its plans to fund content from top creators last September, at the time describing the program as an opportunity to help creators "fulfill their creative ambitions."
The new initiative comes as YouTube is facing increased pressure from video platforms at Facebook, Vessel and others. The company is also prepping its annual Brandcast event during the Digital Content NewFronts in New York, where it is expected to showcase some of its popular creators and detail the performance of premium advertising tier Google Preferred.