YouTube is making its original programming free to watch

YouTube is making its original programming free to watch on its website, abandoning plans to lure more paying subscribers and stepping back from the Netflix-led war on streaming. The Google-owned video platform is switching tactics and focusing on its ad-supported model, rather than chasing content providers such as Netflix and Amazon as Apple and Disney are doing with the launch of their own services. All future original television shows will be free to watch with adverts, YouTube said yesterday. Ads brought in $15 billion in revenue for the company last year… Cobra Kai, a series based on The Karate Kid films that was behind its paywall, has become YouTube’s most successful original series. However, the first season was moved in front of the paywall yesterday and season two will launch free of charge in September. Cobra Kai was one of the projects spearheaded by Susanne Daniels, the television veteran who YouTube hired in 2015 to overhaul its strategy… The goal was to build the subscription service YouTube Premium, which costs $12 a month. However, making original television has proved expensive and difficult, as competition for content has heated up. Disney, Apple and Warner-Media flagged their intention to take on Netflix and poured billions of dollars into new shows to help drum up excitement for their streaming services. 

Anna Nicolaou