Mipcom: YouTube’s Susanne Daniels on Promoting Diversity

Leo Barraclough
Variety

CANNES, France – Speaking at TV conference Mipcom, Susanne Daniels, global head of original content at YouTube, said Monday that the creators of the platform’s original shows were drawn from a far broader spectrum of society than those making content for traditional media companies.

“Over the last 11 years we have seen a rich mosaic of creators emerge as diverse as the global community who watch videos on YouTube every month,” she said. The website was now enabling some of these creators to make original shows for its subscription service, YouTube Red.

She cited romantic drama “Single by 30,” which was created by Philip Wang and Wesley Chan and which features a largely Asian American cast, and comedy “Broke,” which has been praised for its authentic African-American characters.

Early next year, Daniels said, YouTube Red will debut a feature-length documentary about transgender star Gigi Gorgeous, directed by two-time Oscar-winner Barbara Kopple. “It will take a raw and revealing look into Gigi’s transition from male to female, bringing to light a deeper understanding on this important topic,” she said.

“I’m really proud that YouTube Red is already the place where storytellers of all backgrounds have found a home,” she said.

Daniels announced three new projects for YouTube Red to be delivered by Doug Liman, Dan Harmon’s Starburns Industries and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (see separate story).

Daniels was joined onstage for her Mipcom keynote address by Burnie Burns, co-founder and chief creative officer of Rooster Teeth, who has “demonstrated just how important it is to build communities and tell stories around their interests,” Daniels said. Rooster Teeth company has produced 45 series, three movies and seven podcasts.

Burns said the secret of his company’s success was down to “community and conversation.”

“We had to engage our audience not only to watch our content but also to invest in it as well,” he said. “We learned early on that talking at our audience was not enough. We knew we had to start a conversation, take them from being just viewers to making them fans and friends, and ultimately create an engaged community around which we could create our brand and then our business could succeed.”

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