YouTube May Drop Streaming Subscriptions for Ads

Based on the success of their ad supported movie streaming experiment, YouTube may be looking to drop their Premium streaming subscription model for all original programming, in favor of an ads based scheme.

“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,” a YouTube spokesperson told TheWrap. “This next phase of our Originals strategy will expand the audience of our Original creators and provide advertisers with incredible content that reaches the YouTube Generation.”

A few weeks ago, YouTube began offering free streaming of feature length motion pictures, peppered with ads to pay for it. None of these movies are recent, mind you, but they are classics like Legally Blonde, The Rocky Series, and The Terminator.  The result is that over 71 million users have subscribed to YouTube’s Movies and Shows channel.

Based on that success, the streaming channel is considering following the same model with original series like the popular Karate Kid sequel series Cobra Kai, and the new sci-fi horror series Origin.  Cobra Kai, with Ralph Macchio and William Zabka reprising their roles as Danny LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence,  was a breakout hit. YouTube was wise to show the first two episodes for free, as it enjoyed over 51 million views, and prompting a renewal of the series for a second season.

YouTube followed the same strategy for Origin, and so far it’s been viewed by 11 million. So, if YouTube is going to bring these series from behind the pay wall, I expect they’ll do even better.

While I think it’s a great idea to go back to the ad supported model that has made the streaming portal so popular as a free streaming option, especially with millennials. But lately, their ads have been shoehorned into content in rather jarring moments, right in the middle of a sentence, even. This is rather necessary when you’re looking at basic videos that are popular on conventional YouTube, but they can really throw the audience out of the story if you do it at the wrong time in a TV show.

While users can skip ads after a few seconds, they can’t do it on  their free movies, and presumably with their originals, that will be no different. But I also think that with their original programming, the format will be more ad friendly, with traditional act breaks that properly positions an ad.

YouTube plans to expand their original programming slate, with over 50 shows in development, to join Cobra Kai and Origin. And while there’s no word on when the Premium subscription model will be replaced, I think it will be a good thing when it does. I rather like both Cobra Kai and Origin. But I really don’t want yet another monthly subscription picking my pocket.

And if YouTube TV went with it for their Live programming, I’d switch from Sling in a heartbeat.

Hat Tip – SyFy Wire

About James DeRuvo 599 Articles
Editor in Chief at doddleNEWS. James has been a writer and editor at doddleNEWS for nearly a decade. As a producer/director/writer James won a Telly Award in 2005 for his Short Film "Searching for Inspiration. James is a recovering talk show producer from KABC in Los Angeles, and a weekly guest on the Digital Production Buzz with Larry Jordan.

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