17 May 2019
YouTube has confirmed that its premium original shows will be made available for free but with ads. It is a significant change in original content strategy which has strictly been a part of paid membership. It is hoping to reach a wider user base with the help of free and ad-supported offerings.
It made the announcement during its eighth annual broadcast event called Brandcast. It is worth noting that these original shows will be available for free only during a limited and preset window. The most popular original series on the platform is Cobra Kai which is a Karate Kid sequel. It has now been renewed for a third season but as part of the new strategy, the first season will be released for free during Aug 29th - Sept 11th window. The second season will become free starting Sept 11th but one episode will be released each week.
YouTube Premium is currently available for an $11.99 monthly fee which is something not many users are ready to pay. The idea of providing them with free but ad-supported content is a sensible one. It will allow YouTube to generate healthy ad revenue through those free viewers and who knows, some of them might even switch to the paid membership.
Robert Kyncl, YouTube's Chief Business Officer said,
“For today’s viewers, primetime is personal and our content resonates so strongly due to the diversity and richness of our unmatched library and platform capabilities. While every other media company is building a paywall, we are headed in the opposite direction and now have more opportunities than ever to partner with advertisers and share our critically- acclaimed originals with our global audience.”