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YouTube Red Boasts Cable-Like Audiences

Who needs cable? New original video content is everywhere now, and according to YouTube, viewers are flocking to it in record numbers.

While announcing its newest slate of original content for subscription service YouTube Red, the company this week touted the success of early originals including the web series Scare PewDiePie. In a blog post listing season-two renewals and six new video projects, YouTube Inc. said "Our original series and movies are one of the leading drivers of YouTube Red subscriptions, with viewership that rivals similar cable shows."

YouTube hasn't released any actual viewership numbers, but if YouTube Red is drawing significant audiences, that would be a major win for the online video provider which is competing against a much wider field of over-the-top services than when it launched as a user-generated video site more than a decade ago. In particular, YouTube as a whole is facing declines among millennial viewers according to a recent Limelight Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: LLNW) study. The Limelight "State of Online Video" report found that millennials are watching more subscription OTT content and less of YouTube's free video fare.

YouTube's shift into the subscription video business reinforces evidence that traditional TV viewing is moving to the Internet. Where YouTube previously didn't need to compete with premium content online, it now has new OTT rivals popping up every day.

YouTube Red launched last October at a price point of $10 per month. Among the new programs now scheduled to debut on the service is a Step Up series based on the Step Up dance film franchise. (See YouTube Red Bundles Video, Music and Games.)

There are also rumors that YouTube is developing a skinny-bundle TV service with live broadcast and cable content. (See YouTube Prepping Skinny TV Bundle – Report.)

— Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, Light Reading

kq4ym 7/11/2016 | 9:07:51 AM
Real Numbers? I'm sceptical of Google's success on the Red channels. I would guess there's a following on those YouTube mega star's channels and some of those followers might pay the 10 bucks to watch, but I've not seen any content there I'd be willing to pay for.
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