….Watch Cobra Kai, Lazer Team and Liza on Demand for free… just not all at the same time
YouTube has 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).
YouTube is opening the floodgates on its Originals show library: Starting soon, you’ll be able to watch popular YouTube Premium shows like Cobra Kai, Lazer Team and Liza on Demand for free with ads.
Previously, YouTube Originals were locked behind a paywall and were available to YouTube Premium and YouTube TV subscribers – but that’s set to change.
According to TechRadar, there are two caveats here: The first is that not all shows will be available for free immediately, nor will they stay that way indefinitely. (Basically, shows could move between paid and free at any time, so you’ll have to move quickly.)
The other caveat is that the shows will have interstitial advertisements like you’d find on longer YouTube videos.
The reason behind the shift in strategy is to give advertisers a premium placement spot – think primetime programming on traditional cable – and it could be used to help promote shows that might not otherwise have much of an audience.
According to a YouTube Blog post explaining the changes, a good number of these shows will become available to stream for free soon – and that will include the third season of its flagship show, Cobra Kai.
Sure, these shows will now be competing against the 400 hours of YouTube content every minute to the site but, if YouTube wants to get serious about its premium content offering, this is a good way to start.
Starting in August, the first two seasons of Cobra Kai, a spinoff from cult 1980’s Karate Kid movies will be made available for free. Season 1, will begin on August 29 and will end on September 11. Season 2 will then be released on an episode-per-week basis, from September 11.
The decision to start with the show is due mainly to its popularity, with YouTube releasing the results of a survey calling Cobra Kai one of the most “in demand” digital series. Plans to include supernatural drama Impulse and comedy Liza On Demand, starring Liza Koshy, may also come to fruition soon.
YouTube also promises to make other Originals content ad-supported soon. As YouTube’s Chief Business Officer Robert Kyncl said recently, “While every other media company is building a paywall, we are headed in the opposite direction.”