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YouTube Announces Original Programming, Partners with Ellen

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YouTube has decided to make a bigger investment in original programming. One year after creating originals for its YouTube Red subscription service, it's creating ad-supported original programming that everyone can view. At its YouTube Brandcast event tonight in New York City—an annual event that takes place during NewFront Season—YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki and CBO Robert Kyncl announced the company is working with a handful of proven commodities—Ellen DeGeneres, Kevin Hart, Ryan Seacrest, Demi Lovato, the Slow Mo Guys, and Rhett and Link—to create original series. Speaking to an audience made up of thousands of advertisers and agencies, Kyncl plugged the programming as a way for advertisers to find a home is a streaming world increasingly dominated by ad-free SVOD originals.

DeGeneres's program will be called Ellen's Show Me More Show, and will bring viewers backstage with celebrities. Hart's program will be called What the Fit?, and will show the fitness-loving comedian taking part in unusual fitness regimens. Other originals include Seacrest's Best.Cover.Ever, Lovato's I Am: Demi Lovato, Rhett and Link's Good Mythical Morning, and the Slow Mo Guys' The Super Slow Show. You Tube will also create an original special with Katy Perry. YouTube didn't offer details on its financial investment in these programs.

This year's newfronts have been dominated by brand safety conversations thanks to YouTube's recent disaster where it ran major brand ads on videos from hate groups, leaving publishers working extra hard to assure advertisers that their content is brand safe. Wojcicki addressed the issue early in her Brandcast presentation, offering an apology and a pledge to do better.

"The last several weeks have been challenging for some of you," Wojcicki said, promising YouTube will put more controls in place and work with trusted third-parties like ComScore to create a "stronger and better platform."

At the 2016 Brandcast, Wojcicki said YouTube was visited by more 18- to 49-year-olds in a month on mobile devices than any cable or broadcast network. This year, she added that even during primetime YouTube is visited by more 18- to 49-year-olds on mobile than any network. In all, YouTube is watched by over 1 billion people worldwide, she said.

Some of the best moments of the night came from Late Late Show host James Corden, who sang a musical number about YouTube and later joked, "Before YouTube, going viral meant it burnt when you peed…Before YouTube, Chocolate Rain was a German porn film."

"We're building the future of the media business," Wojcicki said in closing. "The wonderful thing about YouTube is it's still the chance for that one unique voice…that can come out of nowhere and capture the world's imagination."

Susan Wojcicki at the 2017 YouTube Brandcast (FilmMagic for YouTube)

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