Everyone knows YouTube as the social media platform that allows anyone to post video content ranging from video essays to gameplays. When YouTube was created in 2005, nobody knew it would be inching its way into the film industry.
Since YouTube is a place where anyone can post videos, many have taken advantage of this media outlet. According to “A Brief History of Film Trailers, or: Turns Out This Post Is Not About Peter Orner” by Daniel DiStefano, YouTube became ‘studios’ newest, most cost-effective, and successful aspect of marketing strategies.” Movie trailers would typically be seen on television but YouTube allowed for uncensored trailers to be published for prospective viewers to see.
Many film and television companies have YouTube channels to post trailers for their respective content, including but not limited to, Netflix and Universal Pictures. There are even YouTube channels dedicated to posting trailers from various companies; ONE Media is an example, as their banner states, “Your one-stop shop for the latest trailers.”
Film trailers are not the only connection YouTube has with the entertainment industry. The site at one point made original content such as movies and series in an attempt to be like companies such as Netflix or Hulu. YouTube Red included company-made content such as “Weird City” starring LeVar Burton and appearances from Dylan O’Brien, Michael Cera and many more. The show is about a city with a wall separating the “haves and the have-nots.” Unfortunately, YouTube Red died off, starting with their scripted content, according to Variety.
According to a tweet from the Chief Business Officer at YouTube, Robert Kyncl, the decision to cut down some of YouTube’s original content, mainly scripted content, was due to putting YouTube Red costs to “Creator Shorts Fund, Black Voices Fund, and Live Shopping programming to name a few.” And Susanne Daniels, the company’s global head of original content, left YouTube in March. Andrew Hutchinson’s article “YouTube Moves Away from Original Programming to Focus on Creator Funding Initiatives” states that in 2018, Red was split into the current YouTube Premium and YouTube Music. The former allows you to watch and download videos from the site for $11.99 a month while the latter allows you to listen to different music.
Much of YouTube’s popularity comes from people’s love for their creators and not so much from their overall content. Scripted content that you may find on streaming services or cable channels can be found on YouTube but not from the company itself. Alter is a channel on the site dedicated to showing short horror movies and is quite popular with 2.35 million subscribers and 577 videos. Their latest upload, “It’s Not Custard,” was posted on Oct. 13 and gained 2.5 thousand views and 431 likes on the same day. Alter even helped make full-length films that can be rented or bought on YouTube among other services. Their latest full-length movie is “Villains” starring Bill Skarsgard (It) and Maika Monroe (It Follows) as robbers who break into a home owned by a sadistic couple.
Other popular short film YouTube channels include Crypt TV with 3.7 million subscribers and 508 videos, which also aired a series on Peacock called “The Girl in the Woods.” They also have series’ on YouTube, such as “Look-See” and “Sunny Family Cult.”
As mentioned earlier, some movies and series can be rented or bought from YouTube while others could be watched for free with ads. Some popular films include “Train to Busan,” “Spaceballs,” “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones,” and many more. This business plan is similar to Amazon’s Prime Video service where you can rent or buy movies but also get to watch movies for free, after paying for a prime membership.
While YouTube has brushed the side of the film and television industry, it seems some of its creators will be the ones to enter it. Despite the company failing its mission with YouTube Red, some dedicated filmmakers that use the platform may accomplish their dreams just by posting their work on the site.