Variety: Comedy Central premieres YouTube channel dedicated to digital originals
- Viacom-owned Comedy Central unveiled a new YouTube channel, Comedy Central Originals, which will feature new and returning shows, stand-up comedy specials and social media content, Variety reported.
- The network already has a main YouTube channel featuring programs like "Mini-Mocks," a mockumentary series, but it is mostly linked to the existing TV content. The network saw an opportunity for a separate channel for its digital-only content, including new shows like "Shane Torres Conquers Your Fears" and "wellRED Comedy," a sketch series.
- Production on Comedy Central Originals will be spearheaded by the Viacom Digital Studios unit that debuted two years ago to help the network's verticals expand their digital and social media footprint. The new digital originals will additionally be pushed out on Comedy Central's official site, social platforms and the Comedy Central Stand-Up YouTube channel launched last fall, which now has more than 200,000 subscribers.
Comedy Central rolling out a YouTube channel entirely dedicated to digital originals shows how the TV network and parent company Viacom are ramping up a push to follow eyeballs — especially among younger viewers like millennials — as they gravitate toward digital screens. Digital content tends to be cheaper and quicker to produce than traditional TV programming, leading to faster turnarounds.
The new channel also aligns with Comedy Central's initiative to target more digital-savvy audiences as cord-cutting continues to accelerate. Last year, the network doubled its digital footprint, reaching more than 5 billion video views and nearly 10 billion minutes of watch-time, according to Variety.
Viacom has continued to try and sharpen its digital expertise in a tough market for TV growth. It's enacted a similar strategy for kid-focused Nickelodeon, building up a stronger stable of digital content, tapping Generation Alpha social influencers to star in new programming and tying mobile integrations into the linear viewing experience in recognition of the growing use of smartphones among younger users.
Beyond internal investments in its digital studios team, the company has also tapped more outside partners and acquisitions to strengthen its strategy. It recently partnered with Twitter, for example, on original video content featuring talent from its BET, Comedy Central and MTV networks. Viacom also last summer bought AwesomenessTV, a digital media company that targets Gen Z audiences.