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YouTube's first original series released on YouTube Red subscription service

Famous YouTubers like PewDiePie and Lilly Singh are among the first to get their own original shows on the new service

Doug Bolton
Wednesday 10 February 2016 17:19 GMT
In exchange for $10 a month, subscribers get ad-free watching and access to a range of original shows
In exchange for $10 a month, subscribers get ad-free watching and access to a range of original shows (LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images)

The first episodes of original shows made for YouTube's subscription service, YouTube Red, have been released.

In exchange for $10 (£7) a month, subscribers to YouTube Red (which is currently only available in the US), get ad-free videos, offline viewing and a background media player, allowing them to stream music from the site while doing other things on their phones.

They also get access to exclusive content, created by some of YouTube's most high-profile creators.

Among the first four programmes released on the service are Scare PewDiePie, in which Swedish gamer Felix Kjellberg experiences real-life horror games, A Trip to Unicorn Island, which follows rapper, dancer and comedian Lilly Singh on her first world tour, and Lazer Team, a comedy film created by Rooster Teeth and Fullscreen Films, which follows the exploits of four friends who discover an alien battle suit.

Also included in the launch line-up is Dance Camp, a show created by online production company AwesomenessTV, which, obviously, is about a dance camp.

There's some more shows in the pipeline which are set to be released later this year, such as an untitled feature-length documentary involving transgender YouTuber Gigi Gorgeous, which follows her journey from childhood to life as a media personality.

Internet comedy site CollegeHumor is also working on a series called Bad Internet, which YouTube says will "take a dark and comedic look at the absurdity of Internet culture."

Obviously, most of these shows are likely to primarily appeal to a younger audience who are already fans of YouTubers and internet celebrities, but that's the idea.

YouTube isn't really trying to compete with Netflix or Amazon's Prime Instant Video, but instead is creating a very different service - one which they hope will help them earn more money from the work of the site's top stars.

Even for YouTubers who don't have millions of subscribers, YouTube Red could be good news. Currently, YouTube 'partners' - popular creators who monetise their videos with adverts - get around 55 per cent of advertising revenues.

YouTube have said they intend to share the "vast majority" of YouTube Red revenues with partners whose videos are watched through the service, so if these original shows make it take off, it could be a boon to the community as a whole.

YouTube haven't yet said when Red will launch in the UK, but it's expected to happen at some point this year.

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