In a major shift in its original content strategy, YouTube has officially announced that it is making all the original series and specials on the Google-owned platform available for free viewing. In its 8th annual Brandcast event, YouTube’s Chief Business Officer Robert Kyncl declared that it’s altering its approach towards YouTube Premium originals which will now be made available for free and ad-supported content.
Prior to this, all original shows were available for users of YouTube premium. At a time when other companies and OTTs are moving towards instituting paywalls, YouTube is heading in the opposite direction.
The move was being contemplated back in November as a step towards ensuring a bigger and wider audience for their originals that were only accessible by a premium customer. The ‘single slate strategy’, as termed by the company will mark a stark slash in the budget for the YouTube originals team. It was taking a toll trying to stay afloat in the already competitive premium content market which is dominated by Netflix, Amazon and Hulu.
Should You Still Go For YouTube Premium?
Lately, YouTube has expanded its services to new avenues such as YouTube TV, YouTube Go, and YouTube Premium being the most popular one. It was called “Music Key” upon inception in 2014 which later came to be known as “YouTube Red” before it arrived at its present name. The Premium service helps making the YouTube service a better one in many ways.
For starters, signing up for YouTube Premium gives way for an ad-free experience within a small amount of $11.99 for a monthly subscription. Availing a family pack will cost you $18 and can be shared with five members in all (which is actually a pretty good deal!). Google gives you access to exclusive content from YouTubers like Poppy, PewDiePie and the Paul Brothers apart from originals.
An ad-free experience covers the entire range of YouTube apps encompassing YouTube Music, SmartTV, set-top box and smartphone. The first 30 days of the service is a free trial period.
Also, you get free access to Google Play Music as well as YouTube Music Premium. But the best part of having a YouTube Premium subscription is the background play feature. This means you can lock your phone up or browse a different app and still, the video will continue playing in the background.
As far as the new development is considered, YouTube premium members should not be discouraged. As per reports, the original series will be available for Premium users for binge-watching as against the ad-supported viewers for whom the episodes will be released weekly. Extended, special edition cuts of the series and movies will also be available for Premium accounts.
Which YouTube Originals Can You Watch For Free?
Viewers will be most excited about Cobra Kai, YouTube’s most successful original series. If you want to watch Cobra Kai for free, you have to wait till fall. The first season of the Karate Kid sequel will be released for free viewing on August 29th with each episode released weekly. This will go on till September 11th, which also marks the release of the second season of the series. The show is also up for a third season.
The other originals that are up for grabs for free users will be the supernatural drama Impulse and the comedy show Liza On Demand starring digital star Liza Koshy. Both the shows are gearing up for a second season and they’ll be released on YouTube Premium this fall, though dates are yet to be announced.
Liza On Demand runs for 10 episodes in the first season and portrays the misadventures of Liza (played by Liza Koshy) along with her roommates Oliver and Harlow. The protagonist is trying to make it big in the gig economy and the show follows her attempts at it. Produced by Above Average, the series was started in 2012 by
The half-hour “Liza On Demand” will return with a 10-episode run following the chaotic misadventures of Liza (Liza Koshy) and her roommates Oliver (Travis Coles) and Harlow (Kimiko Glenn) as Liza takes on various tasks and odd jobs while trying to get ahead in the gig economy. The series is produced by Above Average, founded in 2012 by Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Video.
Impulse stars Maddie Hasson who plays a rebellious 16-year old girl who finds out that she has the power to teleport. Impulse has been produced by Universal Content Productions, Hypnotic, and showrunner Lauren LeFranc.
In the previous year, YouTube Originals gained over 2.5 billion views from 50 shows. YouTube’s intent is to make this content available to its two billion monthly users and pump in ad revenue with a free-window strategy.
Niharika Datta is a Content Writer at Vidooly. She started her career as a Human Resource professional but is now pursuing her love for writing. Though she writes about a myriad of ideas, her personal favourite is writing about the latest trends in the content and digital marketing world. An ambivert by nature, she likes to grab a snack with a warm cup of coffee in the company of a good book or a close friend.