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YouTube's documentary series on Justin Bieber just broke a record for the platform

The new documentary series about Justin Bieber is YouTube's most expensive deal to date, and it seems the lofty price tag may already be paying off.

The first episode of the series, "Justin Bieber: Seasons," exceeded 32.5 million views in its first week, according to Variety. That makes the series' premiere the most-watched YouTube Originals debut since the platform started creating its own content in 2016.

YouTube reportedly spent more than $20 million to secure the 10-part series, which is the most the platform has dropped for content in its effort to take on streaming giants like Netflix and YouTube.

It's only fitting that YouTube worked so hard to acquire the rights to Bieber's docuseries, considering the singer's career beginnings. Bieber was first discovered on YouTube when he was 12, after posting videos of himself singing, and was later discovered by the record mogul Scooter Braun (the same Scooter Braun who is in a bitter dispute with Taylor Swift over record rights).

The docuseries follows what Bieber has been up to in the four years since he released his 2015 album, "Purpose." It offers a glimpse into his private life: He talks about his marriage to model Hailey Baldwin (now Bieber), his diagnosis with Lyme disease, and his battle with drug addiction and anxiety. The series also shows a behind-the-scenes preview of his new album "Changes," which is set for release on February 14.

Even today, Bieber is the most-subscribed to music artist on YouTube. He surpassed 50 million subscribers earlier this month and celebrated the achievement with a post on Twitter, where he paid tribute to the original name of his YouTube channel: Kidrauhl.

Yhe premiere of "Seasons" may have reached its gargantuan number of views because of a recent strategy change by YouTube. After more than three years of keeping Originals content behind a $12-a-month paywall on YouTube Premium, YouTube made all of its Originals free in September 2019; subscribers to YouTube Premium have ad-free access.

YouTube also recently canceled most of its scripted Originals, and is instead turning its focus to content in three areas: music, learning and education, and personality and celebrity-centric shows.


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