YouTube not taking on Netflix, Amazon to make high-quality shows, say pundits

YouTube generated more than US$15 billion (S$20 billion) in advertising sales in 2018 without a huge slate of glitzy productions, and concluded its money was better invested in music and gaming.
YouTube generated more than US$15 billion (S$20 billion) in advertising sales in 2018 without a huge slate of glitzy productions, and concluded its money was better invested in music and gaming.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK - YouTube has blinked first, axing ambitions for a paid service with Hollywood-quality shows.

The retreat from competition with Netflix and Amazon's Prime Video service reflects the high cost to take on those deeply entrenched players.

YouTube generated more than US$15 billion (S$20 billion) in advertising sales in 2018 without a huge slate of glitzy productions, and concluded its money was better invested in music and gaming, pundits said.

The shift also raises questions about the long-term future for Ms Susanne Daniels, YouTube's head of original productions since 2015, reported Bloomberg.

She was brought in to boost the volume and quality of its original slate and was now looking to move on, according to sources.

Other technology companies also announced grand plans to make movies and TV, only to retreat after a couple of years. Microsoft created a Los Angeles studio and ordered a show based on its popular game Halo, but shut down before the series came out.

Yahoo lost US$42 million on a trio of original series and then scrapped its plans as well.

Apple is set to announce its first line-up of original series on Monday (March 25) and analysts are already asking if the company has the stomach for the fight.