The bonus of the YouTube Premium subscription service has been the surprisingly good original content that’s available to subscribers. Rather than hiding that great content away behind a paywall, YouTube will begin offering new original series for free, though with advertising inserted by 2020.
The ad-supported model will only apply to new Original series unfortunately with popular upcoming shows like Season 2 of the Karate Kid movie offshoot, Cobra Kai, remaining only available to YouTube Premium subscribers – at least for now.
In a statement to Variety, a YouTube Rep said
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.
Google is looking to shift to a ‘single-slate’ strategy which they say is a combination of premium subscribers and ad-supported content similar to the recent launch of ad-supported movie viewing on YouTube. So far the ad-supported movie model is only available in the US – unless you have a VPN – and Google hasn’t announced any further expansion of the service to more countries.
Currently there are a number of great series available on YouTube Originals including Cobra Kai, Impulse and the latest release – Origin, starring Tom Felton. The growing number of series, as well as the ad-free viewing is why many people choose to pay for YouTube Premium, but if you’re willing to put up with some ads, then maybe you won’t have to.