TV | October 4, 2017 11:52 am

YouTube Has Big Plans to Take on Netflix and Hulu

They have a veteran television exec, Demi Lovato, and $86 billion in cash.

YouTube wants to move on from vloggers and cat videos to join the battle as a prestige TV player, reports The Hollywood ReporterContent head Susanne Daniels told The Hollywood Reporter that she wants their shows to resonate “in big ways” with people, and that once that happens, “we’ll be on that list — like it or not.”

YouTube is growing a slate of films, including a special starring Katy Perry and a documentary from rapper Warren G, as well as Super Size Me 2. Daniels is hoping these films will help turn YouTube into an “arbiter of taste and culture,” and a competitor in both the Oscar and Emmy races, writes The Hollywood Reporter. YouTube execs were even at the Toronto Film Festival looking for the next big indie hit.

Television is changing. All five broadcast networks saw a decline in total viewers last season, reports The Hollywood Reporter, while streamers committed about $20 billion to programming that requires no cable subscription. Netflix grabbed Shona Rhimes from ABC with an estimated $100 million deal. Facebook announced a new video destination. Apple nabbed Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht, who will spend $1 billion make shows like Breaking Bad and The Crown.

The Hollywood Reporter writes that it only takes one big hit to earn Hollywood’s respect, or more importantly, viewers’ credit card and subscription information.

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki has a plan though, writes The Hollywood Reporter. She is going to get ad-supported unscripted originals from people like Demi Lovato, Ryan Seacrest and Ellen DeGeneres. She is also going to push for projects fronted by YouTube Red’s homegrown digital stars.

The competition will be fierce, with the potential that Snapchat, Twitter, or Instagram might try to get into the premium video game. But in terms of sheer audience scale, YouTube and Facebook are the only ones who can truly duke it out, The Hollywood Reporter writes. It will take a while for anyone to catch up with Netflix in terms of subscriptions. But Daniels seems ready to take it all on, and hopes that by making shows that mean something to the audience, YouTube will be unstoppable.