YouTuber MrBeast teams up with Amazon’s MGM Studios for new series

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Jimmy Donaldson, also known as MrBeast on the internet, on Monday announced a new reality competition show in collaboration with Amazon MGM Studios, aiming to further blur the lines between YouTube and traditional television.

The new series, “Beast Games,” is billed as “the biggest reality competition series ever” and will feature 1,000 contestants competing for a $5 million cash prize. 

Donaldson is the most-followed individual creator on YouTube, with more than 389 million subscribers across all of his channels, and is the fourth most-followed creator on TikTok. His large-scale productions on YouTube compare to those of a professional TV operation, with an extensive crew, highly developed sets and big cash prizes. Donaldson’s past videos range from trapping himself in solitary confinement for seven days, attempting to destroy a Lamborghini with a train and running his own version of Squid Game.

Donaldson said in an interview on “The Colin and Samir Show” podcast that his videos on YouTube can cost between $4 million and $5 million each, and the new show will have an even bigger budget. News outlet Puck estimated the deal between Donaldson and Amazon to be about $100 million.

“It’s like our normal videos, but just 20 times better,” Donaldson said on the podcast. “Money’s not a constraint on the show. And so I can also just do anything, which is like a lot more freeing than you would think and so mind-blowing.”

Donaldson said that working with a streaming service allows him to break free of the algorithms and values that perform better on YouTube like thumbnails, video length and title. However, MrBeast videos can net between 300 million and 500 million views each, and there are only 80 million active Amazon Prime Video households in the U.S., per Amazon.

“Beast Games” is not the first time a creator has made content for a streaming service, and the news is part of a trend of creators expanding their content beyond social media platforms in order to diversify revenue. YouTube group “Sidemen” released a Netflix documentary earlier this year, for instance, and the family of TikToker Charli D’Amelio just aired the third season of their reality show on Hulu.

“We’re reinventing everything,” Donaldson said on the podcast. “This will probably be six-plus hours of content, where my normal videos are 20 minutes long. The character building, the storytelling, will be out of this world compared to our normal videos.”

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