youtube originals free

YouTube is living up to its promise to make all its YouTube Originals free. Starting this September, YouTube Originals like Cobra KaiImpulseStep Up: High WaterMind Field, Foursome, and more will be available to stream to non-paying viewers. However, YouTube Premium subscribers will still enjoy the better viewing experience.

Last year, YouTube promised to make its original shows – which are currently exclusive to paying Premium members – available for free to non-paying viewers as ad-supporting programming. Finally, the website is living up to its word by making all original series, movies and live events accessible to the public starting September 24, 2019, according to Engadget.

Premium subscribers will still get an ad-free viewing experience as well as immediate access to every episode in a show’s new season. They’ll also get access to director’s cuts and bonus scenes. Meanwhile, non-paying viewers will have to wait for each episode to be released to the public — though a week’s long wait will probably be worth saving $12 a month for many viewers.

But this shift to free original programming signals a pivot away from scripted series for YouTube, which just last year had invested big bucks into original content in order to compete with streaming giants like Netflix and Hulu. But the Google subsidiary will now be shifting its focus to reality-driven projects headlined by celebrities and YouTube stars, according to an official statement (via Variety) YouTube made last year:

“As we look to 2019, we will continue to invest in scripted programming and shift to make our YouTube Originals ad supported to meet the growing demand of a more global fanbase. This next phase of our originals strategy will expand the audience of our YouTube Original creators, and provide advertisers with incredible content that reaches the YouTube generation.”

YouTube’s original content run was brief but sweet, with Cobra Kai swiftly becoming the website’s flagship series and most critically acclaimed piece of content yet. It’s almost a shame that YouTube is pulling back on original programming while the going was good, but to be honest, it’s kind of a relief. We already have enough streaming services to subscribe to.

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