As Apple takes on Netflix, is YouTube ditching its original content strategy?

Google is denying a report from Bloomberg that its YouTube subsidiary has canceled plans for big-budget dramas and comedies. The news comes on the same day that Apple announced its on-demand TV streaming service, including a raft of original content that will position it to compete with Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

However, Google confirmed that YouTube’s strategy, in what is shaping up to be a massive battle royale in the premium streaming space, will rely on an ad-supported model for its original content. In late 2018, news broke that the company was struggling with its YouTube Premium product (formerly known as YouTube Red), which costs $12 per month for ad-free access to original content, and had decided to introduce an ad-supported model in 2020, alongside the paid option. According to Google, the two options will exist side-by-side for the foreseeable future.

Existing YouTube originals, such as the popular Cobra Kai, will continue despite the change in direction — that show is secured for a second season and is reportedly in the midst of negotiations for a third installment. However, new titles that were in the works, such as sci-fi drama Origin and comedy Overthinking With Kat and June, have had their productions terminated, as confirmed by TechCrunch, leaving the show producer on the hunt for a new home.

Observers have already pointed out that any original content strategy that has a hope of competing with behemoths like Netflix, Amazon, Apple, and Disney, would necessarily cost billions of dollars. Despite parent company Google’s vast coffers, YouTube may simply be acknowledging it can’t carve out a niche for itself and still turn a profit on the costly production expenses.

This decision aside, it’s far too early to count YouTube out of the original content game for good. With the world’s largest video platform, generating more than $15 billion in ad revenue in 2018, it can afford to sit out a round or two and see how things shake out. In the meantime, it’s continuing to expand its own live-streaming TV service, YouTube TV, while Google itself has made a play for what might be the most lucrative online service of all: Streaming video games.

Updated March 25, 2019: Now includes Google’s denial of the original Bloomberg report.

Home Theater

Puro’s kids headphones don’t just sound great, they help prevent hearing damage

Puro Sound Labs' PuroQuiet headphones are a pair of noise-canceling over-ears that are designed for young listeners, allowing them to jam out to their favorite tunes, but limiting volume to avoid long-term hearing damage.
Movies & TV

Netflix vs. Hulu: Which streaming service is right for you?

Netflix and Hulu are two of the biggest names in streaming entertainment. Our guide will help you decide which streaming service has the content you want and the best value for your limited budget.
Home Theater

New TV? Here's where to go to watch the best 4K content available

Searching for content for your new 4K UHD TV? Look no further. We have every major source of the best 4K content, along with the cost, hardware requirements, and features that make each service worth a look.
Home Theater

Netflix vs. Hulu vs. Amazon Prime: Battle of the on-demand streaming giants

Trying to figure out which subscription streaming service to use while sticking to a frugal entertainment budget? Check out our updated comparison of the big three: Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, and Hulu.
Home Theater

MPAA: DVD, Blu-ray sales nearly halved in 5 years as viewers shift to streaming

The annual THEME Report by the MPAA confirmed that viewers are switching from physical media to streaming services. While DVD and Blu-ray sales are falling, subscriptions to services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime are growing.
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.
Home Theater

Amazon’s free Spotify competitor is here. Just ask Alexa

Just ask Alexa to play your favorite song. Amazon has launched a free, ad-based music streaming service to compete with Spotify's free tier on its popular Echo devices, aiming to bolster subscriptions to Amazon Music Unlimited.
Home Theater

The best TVs you can buy right now, from budget to big screen

Looking for a new television? In an oversaturated market, buying power is at an all-time high, but you'll need to cut through the rough to find a diamond. We're here to help with our picks for the best TVs of 2019.
Home Theater

Throw away those EarPods -- we dug up the best headphones in every style

Trolling the internet for hours to find headphones is no way to live. Instead, leverage our expertise and experience to find the best headphones for you. Here are our favorites, with all the features you want.
Home Theater

Still listening on tinny, muffled TV speakers? Try one of our favorite soundbars

You no longer have to sacrifice sound for size when selecting home audio equipment. Check out our picks for the best soundbars, whether you're looking for budget options, pure power, smarts, or tons of features.

Walmart deal drops the price of the 55-inch TCL 4K Roku smart TV to just $338

Was last weekend's Game of Thrones streaming experience lacking? Look no further than this 55-inch TCL TV, which features built-in Roku functionality, and can be had at Walmart for just $338.

YouTube Red is now YouTube Premium. What's changed, and should you subscribe?

Thanks to Google, YouTube Red is now YouTube Premium. We explain what exactly a YouTube Premium subscription gets you, how much it costs, and break down if it's a good choice for you.
Product Review

Now that every speaker has Alexa, don't you want the best? Get the Sonos One

To compete in smart speaker space, Sonos could have just made a better-sounding Alexa speaker, but the company has a reputation to uphold, and went much further. Our Sonos One Review reveals how Sonos does Alexa better than Amazon.
Product Review

It sounds like a Sonos, but the Beam pulls one trick none of its siblings can

Sonos makes really good surround sound speakers for home theaters, but they’re expensive. A cheaper model with great sound would be a win. The Sonos Beam is that speaker, but were too many corners cut to make a more affordable product?