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Summary:

YouTube is renewing less than 40 percent of its original content channels, giving them millions more dollars to produce shows for the site. That’s very much in line with the renewal rates of the TV worlds, where 65 percent new of shows get axed.

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YouTube has long talked about wanting to be the future of TV, with millions of channels at your disposal. Turns out, some aspects of that future look very much like today’s television landscape: This weekend, news broke that YouTube is putting millions of additional dollars towards original content. But only 30 to 40 percent of the channels that received advances a year ago will get additional funding. That is very much in line with the success rate of new network television shows.

YouTube invested some $100 million late last year into high-quality original programming from Hollywood celebrities and YouTube talent alike. Some of these shows have been runaway hits, while others have tanked. But the overall success rate is very much like on TV, according to data recently published by Screenrant. The TV blog did the math on the number of new network shows canceled after just one season, and discovered that on average, only 35 percent of shows make it to a second season.

There are some fluctuations based on the network, with NBC apparently renewing fewer shows than Fox (27 percent vs. 38 percent), and there are also years that are worse for TV than others: During the 2009 – 2010 season, only 57 percent of all new network shows got canceled. Two years later, that number increased to 68 percent.

Screenrant writer Anthony Ocasio reminds us that this number doesn’t really say all that much about the quality of those shows:

“Instead, these numbers represent, at their core, a network’s ability to not only appropriately select programming for its audience (including potential), but to also schedule in such a way to allow for a series’ success.”

YouTube doesn’t have the scheduling problem, but the assessment is otherwise true for its original content as well. Channels that won’t receive any additional finding may not necessarily produce bad content, but just didn’t click with YouTube’s audience.

Of course, there are still some other differences between content produced for YouTube’s original channels and shows on TV. For one thing, those YouTube videos won’t disappear from the site now that they’ve been axed, as Peter Kafka reported Sunday. And in terms of ad revenue, TV content still performs a lot better. But at least when it comes to renewals, YouTube is acting very much like a TV network.

  1. Why would this be surprising? Viewers will like and gravitate more less in the same way to shows how they do on TV. YouTube in the end is a technology enablement platform for changes in the viewing behavior and monetization. I would be concerned if the success/failure rates where not ballpark the same.

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  2. Aristedes Philip DuVal Monday, November 12, 2012

    havedn’texperienced even one youtube TV show! What are they & where are they & how badly are they being promoted that I have never seen one or even know the title of any one youtube TV show???

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  3. Aristedes Philip DuVal Monday, November 12, 2012

    also, i have some great stuff they could use…

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  4. Do you have any details on which channels were renewed and which weren’t?

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