YouTube Red is taking its first step into streaming's original programming wars in one week. The service announced this morning that its first four YouTube Red Originals — comedy-thriller series Scare PewDiePie, documentary A Trip to Unicorn Island, teen musical Dance Camp, and Rooster Teeth comedy Lazer Team — are going to premiere on February 10th. YouTube Red users in the US (the only country where it's available) will be able to exclusively stream the programs mentioned above, and curious consumers around the world can purchase them through either YouTube or the Google Play store depending on their location. (Purchases made through the latter will involve a slight delay: one full month for Red Original movies, and one day after the last episode of Red Original series.)
Some of the YouTube Red Originals aren't complete exclusives: Lazer Team earned more than $1 million in pre-sales before its theatrical premiere last week, and the exclusivity of projects like Dance Camp may not last forever. Caveats aside, this first group of Red Originals represents an important first step for YouTube's nascent subscription service: it's a cudgel to wield against competitors and bait for YouTube users who haven't yet purchased a Red subscription. It also gives talent developed on YouTube bigger, higher-budget creative platforms. There's also plenty of content to come: "We have lots more thrills, chills, LOLs, smiles, romances and surprises from more of your favorite YouTube stars coming later this year," writes YouTube global head of original content Susanne Daniels in a blog post.