A YouTube Revolt? Studio Pulls Popular ‘Red vs. Blue’ Series From Platform Over Lack of Revenue




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Rooster Teeth, a studio owned by Warner Bros. Discovery, took two of its most popular animated shows off YouTube and put them up on its own site, taking a shot at the massive streaming platform for its system of paying creators.

The gaming and comedy entertainment group says YouTube doesn’t generate enough ad revenue per stream for the platform to remain a viable option. Rooster Teeth has already removed Halo-themed Red vs. Blue, the third-longest web series ever, as well as adult animated series Camp Camp, and have moved them on to its own website for free.

Rooster Teeth isn’t alone in finding a way to get around being on YouTube, which takes a significant cut of the revenue generated by creators. Other larger channels have either moved content off the platform or offer things like early access to video on their own sites. 

Kerry Shawcross, a showrunner at Rooster Teeth, posted a video on Instagram last Thursday to explain the decision was inspired by offsetting high animation costs.

“If you go to our website and play an ad, we get approximately five to ten times more value from that ad than we do a watch on YouTube,” said Shawcross. “It just doesn’t make sense for us anymore to have our whole back catalog on YouTube.”

A spokesman for YouTube wasn’t available to comment on the move.

Fans of the series and other Rooster Teeth productions can still check out the entire video library online, but convincing people to switch from their go-to app may prove difficult. According to Google’s consumer insights, almost four times as many people prefer watching videos on YouTube over other platforms. 

But Rooster Teeth content on YouTube generated more than 6 billion video views, a testament to both the creators’ talents and the mass appeal of the app, giving it a better shot at branching away from the video platform than other smaller creators.

By watching on the Rooster Teeth website, the company can keep the full ad revenue, enabling it to develop and release new content. Fans can contribute directly to the Austin-based animation studio by signing up for a FIRST membership for $5.99 per month.

“Animation is hard, and it’s expensive,” said Shawcross. “Ultimately, it’s about making sure that your support is going as far as it can go.” 

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