YouTube Original Channel Initiative

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The YouTube Original Channel Initiative was a failed $100 million program funded by Google to bring original content onto Google. [1] [2] The original channel initiative was also meant to kick start Google TV. [3] The channels are collectively known as "original", "premium" or "YouTube funded" channels.

Participants include Madonna, Pharrell Williams, Young Hollywood founder R.J. Williams, former NBA star Shaquille O'Neal, comedian Amy Poehler, actor Ashton Kutcher, The Office star Rainn Wilson, comedian Kenny Hotz, Motor Trend, SourceFed, spiritual doctor Deepak Chopra and Modern Family actress Sofia Vergara. Most are creating channels through their production companies. Madonna is a partner with the dance channel DanceOn, while O'Neal plans the Comedy Shaq Network.

In September 2012, twenty of the 100 original channels started getting at least 1 million views a week. [4]

In October 2012, it was announced that YouTube introduced 60 new original channels. [5] Google invested $200 million into the original programming as well. [6] The top 25 original programs also averaged around 1 million views per week at the time of the announcement. [7]

In November 2012, YouTube ended funding for more than 60% of the 160 or so channels it financed as part of the initiative. [8] After cancellation, YouTube kept all incoming revenue from these channels that failed to recoup their initial investments. [8]

In November 2013, it was reported that the landing page for the original channels had become a redirect to a 404 error page, seemingly as a way for Google to remove any reference to the original channel initiative. [9]


The content of the YouTube Original Channel Initiative includes SourceFed, Young Hollywood, The Mom's View, The Wall Street Journal, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, [10] Crash Course, BadTeeth, i am OTHER, The Pet Collective, Epic Level TV, Geek & Sundry, MyMusic, Frederator Networks' Cartoon Hangover and The Multiverse among several others. [1] [11] [12]

One of Tubefilter's articles includes a full list of the original channels, [1] which differs from YouTube's listing. [13]

Deadline Hollywood started tracking the weekly video view stats for all the channels part of YouTube's Original Channel Initiative in May 2012. [14]

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  1. 1 2 3 Marc Hustvedt (Oct 28, 2011). "YouTube Reveals Original Channels". Tubefilter. Archived from the original on June 19, 2012. Retrieved Jul 7, 2012.
  2. Ryan Nakashima (Oct 29, 2011). "YouTube launching 100 new channels". USA Today. Archived from the original on June 28, 2012. Retrieved Jul 7, 2012.
  3. Devindra Hardawar (Oct 30, 2011). "YouTube's original channels could be Google TV's killer app". Venture Beat. Archived from the original on June 30, 2012. Retrieved Jul 7, 2012.
  4. Sam Gutelle (September 19, 2012). "20% of YouTube Original Channels Achieving One Million Views a Week". Tubefilter. Archived from the original on September 22, 2012. Retrieved September 22, 2012.
  5. Annlee Ellingson (October 9, 2012). "YouTube goes global with more original channels". Biz Journals. Archived from the original on 2014-03-11. Retrieved October 10, 2012.
  6. Claire Cain Miller (October 7, 2012). "YouTube to Serve Niche Tastes by Adding Channels". The New York Times. Archived from the original on October 11, 2012. Retrieved October 10, 2012.
  7. Robert Kyncl (October 7, 2012). "YouTube's original channels go global". The Official YouTube Blog. Archived from the original on October 10, 2012. Retrieved October 10, 2012.
  8. 1 2 "YouTube to cull poorly-performing original channels, 60 percent not getting renewed". The Verge. 11 November 2012. Archived from the original on 26 April 2017. Retrieved 25 April 2017.
  9. Sam Gutelle (November 12, 2013). "YouTube Has Removed All References To Its Original Channels Initiative". Tubefilter. Archived from the original on November 16, 2013. Retrieved November 17, 2013.
  10. Randy Kennedy (January 18, 2012). "Museum of Contemporary Art to Create Original Programming for YouTube". The New York Times. Archived from the original on April 3, 2015. Retrieved Dec 3, 2014.
  11. Alexei Oreskovic (May 2, 2012). "YouTube covets TV gold with new channels". Reuters. Archived from the original on July 2, 2012. Retrieved Jul 7, 2012.
  12. Eriq Gardner (May 2, 2012). "Upfronts 2012: YouTube Announces New Channels". Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on August 23, 2012. Retrieved Jul 7, 2012.
  13. "YouTube Original Channels". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2013-09-03. Retrieved Jul 8, 2012.
  14. The Deadline Team (May 29, 2012). "New Feature: Deadline's Weekly YouTube Channel Rankings". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on July 5, 2012. Retrieved Jul 8, 2012.