YouTube Plans to Make All Its Original Content Available for Free

YouTube will create a single Originals slate for both AVOD & SVOD audiences

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YouTube is shifting from subscription-based original content to an ad-supported strategy and will make all of its original productions available for free in the coming years, TheWrap has confirmed.

Since 2015, YouTube’s original content was only available to consumers willing to subscribe to the company’s streaming service, YouTube Premium. However, the company plans to combine its current Premium Originals and existing ad supported initiatives into a single programming effort that — by 2020 — will provide free, ad-supported “windows” for YouTube users.

“By any measure, 2018 was a breakout year for YouTube Premium and YouTube Originals. We expanded YouTube Premium to 29 countries, launched over 50 scripted and unscripted shows, and collected eight Emmy nominations and over 30 industry awards. 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 YouTube Original creators and provide advertisers with incredible content that reaches the YouTube Generation. ”

YouTube first began experimenting with ad-supported content in 2017 with shows like “Ellen’s Show Me More Show,” and continued in 2018 with “Kevin Hart: What The Fit?” and “I AM: Demi Lovato.”  The company has also recently expanded its ad-supported programming to India where it recently launched the singing competition show “ARRived,” which is hosted by award-winning Indian composer A.R. Rahman.

By making all of its original programming available for no charge, the site is providing its more than 2 billion users a better opportunity to experience and engage with its original content. YouTube Premium, which includes access to thousands of songs, will now be reserved for those who want to binge watch content without ads.