YouTube has been in talks with Hollywood studios and production companies regarding deals for TV and film content rights, according to the Wall Street Journal. Signing up new programmes would strengthen its new subscription service, YouTube Red, and may signal an ambitious challenge to the likes of Hulu, Netflix and Amazon.
YouTube announced its subscription service in October, which features original content including films starring popular vloggers from the site. YouTube Red provides fee-paying members in the US with ‘the ultimate YouTube experience’, for $9.99 per month.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Susanne Daniels, the former programming chief of MTV who joined YouTube in the summer, and Kelly Merryman, a former Netflix content executive who joined YouTube in late 2014, are involved in the talks. They report to Robert Kyncl, another Netflix veteran who is now YouTube’s chief business officer.
Amazon and Netflix have both built up impressive libraries of original content, including Netflix’s Narcos. Amazon Studios launched in 2010, with the aim of producing content new and exclusive to the Amazon Instant Video service.
Amazon recently announced it has commissioned its first original UK drama series, The Collection, in association with BBC Worldwide. The eight episode series is exec produced by former HBO executive Anne Thomopoulos, and co-proeduced by Federation Entertainment, which is producing Netflix’ first original French drama, Marseilles.