YouTube is finally joining the streaming wars, enabling users to view thousands of ad-supported tv show episodes for free, in the app. This move on account of Google’s video-sharing platform is another major blow to traditional television, but streaming giants like Netflix are also taking a punch.
A New Way to Enjoy Classic Favorites
The YouTube team unveiled the news in a March 23 post on their official blog, stating “YouTube is at the forefront of the consumer shift to CTV viewership as the top ad-supported streaming platform with the content people enjoy and the creators they love. And now US viewers for the first time will be able to watch full seasons of TV shows on YouTube for free with ads. Now you can stream nearly 4,000 episodes of your favorite TV shows, including Hell’s Kitchen, Andromeda, Heartland and more.”
And it won’t stop there. YouTube plans to add up to 100 episodes and films every week. Stellar news for users who would happily accept the ads to watch free tv shows, alongside YouTube’s usual vlogs and stock video based content.
It’s Been a Long Time Coming
YouTube’s decision comes as no surprise to media watchers like Nielsen who found that more than 135 million people were already watching YouTube on their TV screens in late 2021. Offering tv shows is a logical step for the video platform, and it’s not the first step they’ve taken in that direction. YouTube took a shot at the subscription-streaming business in 2016 with the launch of its YouTube Originals, with the intent of creating shows in-house. YouTube Originals couldn’t compete with the content produced by Netflix, Amazon Prime, and other streaming platforms and decided to shut down the Originals division after 6 years, in January 2022. They came to the conclusion that it’s cheaper to license TV shows than to create original programs.
Who Will Able To Benefit From It?
At this time, the roll-out is limited to the US market. The shows–and the 1,500 movies by the likes of Disney, Warner Bros, and Paramount Pictures, that are already available on the platform—will be accessible from the new “Movies and shows” tab in the platform menu. YouTube promises easy navigation, rich visuals, and an adapted interface for an improved experience from the couch rather than the desk chair, on mobile, desktop computer or connected TV. YouTube will also enable 1080p HD viewing with 5.1 surround sound for many tv show titles.
The Effect On Netflix And Co.
While the new YouTube offering definitely presents another nail in the coffin of traditional TV, its effect on streaming giants like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu remains to be seen. Thanks to their original productions, users will continue to bundle the offering of different services to access all their favorite content, including YouTube.