LOS ANGELES: YouTube Premium launched in a dozen new international territories on June 18, making breakout streaming hit Cobra Kai and other original content available in countries including the UK and other European nations.
YouTube Music also rolled out internationally, with the full album catalogue of the Beatles part of the lineup.
Music is offered through an ad-supported free service with videos, albums, and concerts, or through Music Premium, which also removes ads and allows users to download. It costs £9.99 (RM53) per month in the UK. The paid version allows for downloads and listen in the background functionality.
The YouTube Premium and Music launches bring the services to new markets in a major push beyond the US and the handful of other countries where the services are already available: Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and South Korea.
The paid-for, ad-free video and music streaming and download services are now available in the UK. They have also launched in Austria, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Russia, Spain, and Sweden. The Premium service is £11.99 (RM63) in the UK with a three-month free trial on offer. The subscription includes the original shows and the YouTube Music Premium service.
Speaking to Variety in Toronto, YouTube head of label relations Stephen Bryan added that the company will hold a series of launch events throughout Europe, but leave more traditional promotional routes for the US music service. “We’re very focused on international this week but the service is live and there is marketing and promotion and advertising in the US and several markets around the world,” he said.
YouTube has been making strides in original content as well. Cobra Kai has been its breakout show, and new shows are also coming out of the EMEA content hub based in London and run by Luke Hyams.
“We are looking at specific personalities and genres that are really working well for YouTube and how we can work with those people, or find production companies who can identify with these trends and make things that can really connect,” Hyams told Variety.
So far, that has yielded unscripted shows F2 Finding Football and The Sidemen Show, which has been billed as The Inbetweeners meets Top Gear. There are also US-originated dramas, including Karate Kid-inspired Cobra Kai and Impulse. Upcoming shows include Left Bank-produced sci-fi series Origin.
“It’s on us to make sure the Premium rollouts are enough of a success so that we can push forward with a lot of other shows in a meaningful way...We’re building towards a global service here,” Hyams said. — Reuters