YouTube buys Step Up series for Red channel

27 Jun 2016

Channing and Jenna Dewan Tatum will be executive producers on YouTube Red’s new show

YouTube’s gradual shift into commercial streaming of movies, sporting events, gigs and TV shows has just hit a milestone: its first purchase of a big-budget TV drama.

Step Up (2006), Step Up 2: The Streets (2008), Step Up 3D (2010), Step Up Revolution (2012), Step Up: All In (2014). So reads a remarkable ten-year box office success story from a dance-themed movie series.

So popular is the franchise, which spawned the career of Channing Tatum, that YouTube is gambling on a supporting TV series to really kickstart its paid-for premium YouTube Red.

Last October, YouTube announced its Red plans, with a monthly $9.99 subscription giving users ad-free and, in future, unique content.

The future is certainly here, with news that 10 episodes of Step Up are on the way. The “heart-pounding, sexy, music-filled and dramatic” series will see three producers from the original franchise get on board.

Adam Shankman, Jennifer Gibgot and Meredith Milton will executive produce the series, along with Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan Tatum, who both co-starred in the original film.

Each episode will be 45 minutes long, with YouTube’s global head of original content Susanne Daniels hoping Step Up can “drive subscription”, according to an interview in the New York Times.

Last week YouTube announced plans to get in on the live streaming racket. A select few high-profile YouTubers like The Young Turks and the SacconeJolys are already live-streaming away, with a full user roll-out “soon”.

Kurt Wilms, product lead for immersive experiences at the company, said the feature will be built directly into the current app, which is fairly ubiquitous on most mobile devices.

So with live streaming on the way, and a major investment into big-budget YouTube Red content, 2016 is shaping up to be a significant year for YouTube. Perhaps just as significant for Netflix and Periscope, too.

Channing and Jenna Dewan Tatum image via Twocoms/Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic