YouTube to Launch Subscription Service With Original Series From Fine Brothers, PewDiePie

Illustration by: Chip Wass

The Google-owned streaming service held a big event at YouTube Space LA to share new details of the service, which will cost $10 a month.

YouTube is finally asking users to pay up. 

The Google-owned streaming service on Wednesday announced the upcoming launch of an ad-free subscription service, called YouTube Red, that will cost $9.99 a month. Red, which launches Oct. 28, will feature offline viewing and the ability to play videos in the background on tablets or mobile phones. 

A key component of the new service will be a slate of originals from top online stars that have been funded by YouTube. YouTube announced a number of exclusive originals as part of Red, including a scripted comedy called Sing It from the Fine Brothers, a project with Swedish gamer PewDiePie and a movie from vlogger Lilly Singh

YouTube is taking originals seriously, hiring MTV veteran Susanne Daniels over the summer to head the initiative. YouTube originals, announced last April ahead of YouTube's annual Brandcast event in New York during the Digital Content New Fronts, gives money to endemic creators to produce higher-budget projects than those they are often able to make on their own. It's an evolution of the company's 2011 plan to give money to Hollywood stars like Madonna for YouTube channels. That program ended after only a couple of years. 

Some of the originals that YouTube announced earlier this year, including a project from comedy duo Smosh, will be part of YouTube's free, ad-supported service. 

At YouTube Red's launch event on Oct. 21, Daniels took the stage to share more details of the originals that YouTube is funding. She noted that while at MTV she was developing programming that "appealed to people in an age with so many distractions," but that the diversity of programming on YouTube has "captured the attention of a new generation of fans." 

YouTube has been working on a subscription service for more than a year. It's first subscription effort was the test launch of Music Key, a music streaming offering, which launched last November. The service has been rebranded as YouTube Music and will be wrapped into the new Red subscription offering. It will also have a standalone app, which will launch later this year, that will be similar to those that YouTube has created for gaming and kids content. 

It has taken YouTube a while to launch its video subscription service in part because of the deals it has had to strike with creators to ensure that their videos, long offered up for free with advertising, would be part of the catalog of paid content. The company told creators that their free videos would be made private if they did not agree to new terms for the subscription service. Several big media companies, which offer up clips on YouTube from their most popular shows also were reluctant to sign onto the service, but have come around. Chief business officer Robert Kyncl said Wednesday that YouTube had done deals with 99 percent of its partners and was hoping to finish negotiations with a few remaining holdouts prior to Red's launch. 

Here are the originals coming to YouTube Red: 

Scare PewDiePie 
In this reality-adventure series from the creator and executive producers of The Walking Dead at Skybound Entertainment and Maker Studios, experience thrills, chills and laughter as PewDiePie encounters terrifying situations inspired by his favorite video games.
 
Sing It!
From Fine Brothers Entertainment and Mandeville Films comes SING IT!, a scripted comedy that lovingly satirizes the reality singing competitions that have become a centerpiece of pop culture. 
 
Lazer Team
In this feature-length action-comedy from Rooster Teeth and Fullscreen Films, 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. 
 
A Trip to Unicorn Island
From the team at Astronauts Wanted, this feature-length movie gives fans an extraordinary look inside the life and journey of Lilly Singh as she embarks on a challenging 26-city  global  tour where she has to remember to practice what she preaches: happiness is the only thing worth fighting for.
 
Untitled Joey Graceffa project
In this all-new reality adventure series, Joey Graceffa brings together an ensemble of top YouTubers for a Murder Mystery they'll never forget. They'll form alliances to survive, but little do they know that most won't make it out alive.
 
360 Project from MatPat of Game Theory
YouTube educator and pop culture expert MatPat from The Game Theorists invites the audience to come along for the ride in an innovative new series and 360 VR experience.  In each episode Matt explores the real-life science behind popular video games by throwing gamers into the high-stakes scenarios they play through every day, from water jetpacks to haunted pizzerias.  
Single by 30
In this romantic drama series from Wong Fu Productions and New Form Digital, two high school best friends make a promise to get married if they’re still single at 30. A decade later, with 30 quickly approaching, their attempt at upholding their vow unfolds in unexpected ways. Starring Harry Shum Jr. and Kina Grannis.
 
Untitled CollegeHumor project
Written by and starring the cast of CollegeHumor, along with special guests, this new anthology series will take a dark and comedic look at the absurdity of Internet culture.
 
Fight of the Living Dead
In an unprecedented social experiment reality show from Alpine Labs, Fight of the Living Dead takes popular YouTube talent and traps them in a frighteningly realistic zombie apocalypse. They must use their instincts and gaming skills to survive as they battle the elements for the ultimate prize of survival. 
 
I Am Tobuscus
From the mind of Toby Turner, this scripted comedy explores the world of a self-involved YouTube creator pursuing bigger stardom. The show features original music, and satirizes the hilarious details of being an eccentric, the new-age celebrity."
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