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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

YouTube on Thursday announced a new original TV content strategy that will see the Google-owned video hub make new programs available to users on a free, ad-supported basis (via Deadline).


Nine new programs will be made available on YouTube this year, with a mix of original content, including a documentary about sports tricks outfit Dude Perfect, and an interactive series featuring YouTube star Mark Fischbach that allows viewers to control the storyline.

Other programs include a third season of the Karate Kid-inspired Cobra Kai, an investigation show from media startup Vox, and a set of standalone films from "The School of Life" YouTube channel, which "explores some of the greatest philosophical questions of our age," according to YouTube.

The development represents a shift in strategy since the arrival of YouTube Premium in May 2018 (previously YouTube Red), which offered ad-free viewing and other benefits, including original programming offered behind a $12-a-month paywall. The latter perk apparently hasn't been as popular as YouTube was hoping, so the new direction is about making original content available to as many users as possible on an ad-supported basis.
"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," Chief Business Officer Robert Kyncl said in the official announcement. "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."
Another reason for the shift is Google's recognition of the growth in viewing YouTube in the living room, where about 250 million hours of YouTube fare are watched every day, on average, according to the company.

YouTube will continue to test original content benefits for subscribers. For example, all episodes from the third season of Cobra Kai will be available to subscribers in one block, while non-subscribers will gain access to one new episode per week. New episodes of some existing programs are also likely to remain subscriber-only because of contractual commitments, YouTube said.

Article Link: YouTube Switches to Free, Ad-Supported Streaming Strategy for Original TV Shows


macrumors 65816
Jan 29, 2003
I don’t mind watching a few 30 second ads if I’m not paying monthly for it like CBS All Access and the lower Hulu plan and if the content is good. I think I think this is a good move.

I agree. Apple would be smart to at least have the first episodes of particular series available to anyone, perhaps with ads, to get people hooked.
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macrumors 65816
Jun 7, 2008
This is a good example of people voting with their wallets. It goes to show if people actually don’t pay eventually things will change. I guess YT content wasn’t compelling enough to have people pay for another streaming service.


macrumors 604
Jan 7, 2014
In between a rock and a hard place
It sounds like YouTube premium doesn’t have many subscribers, or if it does, customers aren't all that interested in the original series. Making them ad-supported will at least get them seen, but if they’re no good people still won’t watch them, even if they’re free.
Anecdotally, I have a Google Play Music/Youtube Premium Family plan. I have never watched a single YT Original. Neither has my wife or kids. I have heard good things about Cobra Kai though. The problem for YT Originals is unfortunately... Youtube. It has too much content. Love it or hate, YT is the rabbit hole to end all rabbit holes. Even without rabbit holing, people tend to concentrate on their subscribed channels. YT Originals end up being background noise. No one is signing up just to view that. So they might as well make them free with ads. At least they'll get more views.


Feb 16, 2019
I’ve been using Youtube Premium for free since it became a thing. It’s called a loop hole.


macrumors 68040
May 14, 2012
As long as the ad selection are changing. Nothing worse than constantly showing the same ads over and over again. That alone can drive customers away.
Hulu mixes up their ads fairly well to keep it from getting repetitive.


macrumors 68020
Jun 4, 2007
New York City & South Florida
I had a 3 month free trial of YouTube Premium and I must say it was very nice to have no ads anywhere, but I didn't watch a single YouTube Original and didn't find it worth it to pay after the free trial ended. Although the ads are definitely more annoying now than they were before I experienced ad-free life.
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macrumors 68030
Mar 4, 2007
I pay for premium because I hate ads. But I still have never watched a YouTube original show. In fact it hurts their experience for me because they push these shows on my home screen. The shows just don’t look appealing.
But the bigger issue Youtube has is as they have pushed to demonetize anything with an opinion, more creators are embedding ads into the streams. I am losing the benefit of ad-free tier as a result.


macrumors 68000
Jul 23, 2008


macrumors 6502a
Oct 28, 2011
All these free ad supported tiers. People just aren’t buying 25 different subscriptions for every different company.


macrumors regular
Oct 20, 2009
I don’t mind watching a few 30 second ads if I’m not paying monthly for it like CBS All Access and the lower Hulu plan and if the content is good. I think this is a good move.
I don’t mind paying a small fee if I do not have to watch a few 30 second ads in every show.

Human diversity is a wonderful thing.

It would be nice if they offered both options.
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