Everyone’s favorite cat-video site has decided that instead of relying on the dreaded paywall for access to YouTube’s original programming, they’ll shift their strategy towards an ad-supported approach.
YouTube launched dozens of new original shows that, up until now, were only accessible through a paid subscription. Available in 29 countries, the premium service relied on the revenue from paid users rather than from ads. This switch in monetary focus will presumably expand the reach of the programs and drive the interest of advertisers.
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.
While some of the programs will remain fueled by subscription, the global reach of YouTube makes it the perfect vehicle for original programming. Nothing has been confirmed yet, but this definitely feels like a step towards a “tiered account” style, offering different levels of access, ad viewing, and convenience.
If you look at our originals over the last few years, our main goal was to drive subscribers to YouTube Premium. But through experimentation, we’ve also learned that we can make a lot of the projects work incredibly well when we make them available free to users.
Robert Kyncl, Chief Business Officer at Youtube
So as of right now, all of your cat videos, music videos, and clips from Anchor Man are free, but keep your head on a swivel. You might find yourself paying top dollar to watch the campfire scene from Blazing Saddles, or relive Tom Brady dropping that wide-open pass.
God, I love YouTube.