Well you can’t blame them for trying. YouTube continues trying to make some order from the chaos of 150+ million videos it has, adding a “Web Originals” category to its new Shows sections. The name isn’t great – aren’t the majority of YouTube videos web originals? Aside from that, it’s sporting a grand total of 14 web series right now. (14?!?)
Granted, this may be an early preview of the new section, but so far the list is anything but complete. The only common thread between the group is they all are YouTube partners, which might be a prerequisite for inclusion. On the list so far: Fred, Smosh, Prom Queen, The Guild (season 1), Roadents, University of Andy, Arby ‘n’ The Chief, Gemini Division, Affirmation Girl, WineLibraryTV, Back on Topps. It seems that lonelygirl15 and its 200M views didn’t make the cut?
We have a call in to YouTube to find out more about this, including if and how web series can be added to the category. If this ends up being only for YouTube partners it’s going to be a disappointment. Right now the list is even lighter than Hulu’s web series channel, who unlike YouTube doesn’t already have a lion’s share of web series already uploaded to its site.
Maybe they took a tip from Metacafe, which has its own Web Originals category boasting just 51 videos, most of which are CBS’s Novel Adventures series. Speaking of CBS, they seem to be getting in the spirit with their own “Webisode Central” that also feels a bit light with 17 total web series. For now, blip.tv, KoldCast, and Joost all seem to have the edge in terms of web series organization.
(hat tip to modelmotion for pointing this out)
UPDATE 6/19: After talking to YouTube, they confirmed that this is indeed “Phase 1″ of the roll out, with no word on when exactly Phase 2 will begin. They have added a small handful more – Scam School, Gorgeous Tiny Chicken Machine Show, All Stars, Fantasy Sports Girl.
“We’re still evaluating how this is going to work,” a YouTube spokesperson told us, and “at this point there are no plans to make it opt-in.” They also confirmed that is is for YouTube partners-only right now, with no plans yet of venturing outside of that group. The new additions are mostly Sony or major partner content with very few indie series making the list.
As they figure out exactly what they think a web series is, it sounds like they are playing it pretty straight, trying to create what they say is a “clean, safe envrionment for consumers and advertisers.”