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What's news: As streaming wars escalate, YouTube is readying a new premium content plan. Plus: FX chief John Landgraf writes a memo to Silicon Valley, Kate Winslet reteams with James Cameron and TV networks shy away from an O.J. Simpson interview (so far). — Matthew Belloni, Erik Hayden and Jennifer Konerman
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On the cover: YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, Demi Lovato and content head Susanne Daniels. During a visit with Natalie Jarvey at Google's Mountain View campus, Wojcicki laid out YouTube's multipronged offensive in the content arms race:
Cash-rich new players — led by Netflix and Amazon and now including Hulu, Apple, Facebook and, yes, YouTube — has electrified the content business as legacy distribution models continue to fracture (see the 25-year low in box-office attendance this summer).
YouTube's plans? A slate of ad-supported unscripted originals from such names as Demi Lovato, Ryan Seacrest and Ellen DeGeneres, coupled with a scripted push for YouTube Red that combines existing IP (including Step Up: High Water, an offshoot of the dance movie franchise, and The Karate Kid spinoff Cobra Kai) with projects fronted by its homegrown digital stars.
Among the shows in the works are a musical comedy with Rudy Mancuso (3 million YouTube subscribers) executive produced by Avengers: Infinity War directors Joe and Anthony Russo, an Anna Akana (1.9 million) drama executive produced by Mark Gordon and a Liza Koshy (11.7 million) vehicle.
It even launched its own version of a skinny bundle, YouTube TV, offering access to channels including FX and ESPN over the internet for $35 a month. "Television is changing a lot, and there are opportunities to reinvent parts of it," says Wojcicki. "We're going to continue to invest more in it." Full story.
+ Full chart: Where streamers get original content…
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