YouTube Content Head Susanne Daniels Denies Eyeing Exit Amid High-End Series Cancellations

By 03/25/2019
YouTube Content Head Susanne Daniels Denies Eyeing Exit Amid High-End Series Cancellations

Susanne Daniels, the TV luminary who joined YouTube as global head of original content in 2015, has denied reports that she’s eyeing an exit as the video giant axes several premium scripted series amid its move to make all original programming available for free by 2020.

While cutbacks at subscription service YouTube Premium — which is priced at $12 per month — were first reported in November, they have now manifested via the cancellation of sci-fi drama Origin and the comedy Overthinking With Kat & June, Bloomberg reports. YouTube has also stopped accepting pitches for premium scripted series, according to the outlet, as existing production partners seek distribution opportunities elsewhere.

A YouTube spokesperson denied the report to Tubefilter, stating that the company has a “full and robust slate that has several scripted projects in development,” and added that the company will “unveil a new slate of new and returning hits in the coming weeks.” YouTube also said that it will unveil a new ad-supported model for all original programming by year’s end.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reported that Daniels — who arrived at YouTube from MTV, and previously ran the Lifetime and WB television networks, where she oversaw iconic series like Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Dawson’s Creek  — is looking to move on.

Daniels denied those reports. “While it’s strangely flattering to be the topic of Hollywood gossip, please know I am committed to YouTube and can’t wait to unveil our robust slate of new and returning originals,” she told Tubefilter in a statement. “My team has been laser-focused on expanding and evolving our development filter to strike the right balance for our burgeoning premium business…By the end of the year, all of our series and events will be ad-supported. It’s an incredibly exciting and creative time at YouTube.”

Thus far, YouTube Premium shows have generally failed to gain substantial traction in an increasingly crowded — and expensive — playing field, given that competitors like Netflix and Amazon are spending billions of dollars annually on original programming. Bloomberg reports that YouTube made $15 billion in ad sales last year, and will continue to invest in the music and gaming sectors. With respect to its YouTube Music service, for instance, the company is creating short-form originals to promote emerging artists like Maggie Rogers, Gunna, and Billie Eilish — though those projects fall under the dominion of music head Lyor Cohen and not Daniels, Bloomberg reports.

Daniels has overseen more than two dozen shows during her time at YouTube, with Cobra Kai — a Karate Kid sequel series — being the company’s biggest breakout hit to date. Some of the platform’s ad-supported original ventures — such as programming spotlighting Katy Perry and Demi Lovato — have also returned big numbers.