YouTube has officially kicked off its new strategy of making its original series and specials free (with ads) by dropping the critically-acclaimed and fan-favourite first season of Cobra Kai in front of its YouTube Premium paywall for a limited time.
Previously, only the first two episodes of Season 1 and the first episode of Season 2 were available to sample in front of the paywall. Now, fans without a YouTube Premium subscription can binge watch the first 10 episodes, with the second run of 10 available for free from 11th September, with one episode dropping each week.
The sequel to The Karate Kid has been a smash hit for YouTube, with he first episode of Season 1 boasting nearly 55 million views and first episode of Season 2 besting the season 1 premiere by 136 per cent, making it the fastest YouTube Original to hit 20 million views in just 6 days.
Cobra Kai leads the way for YouTube’s new strategy, as, for the first time, YouTube’s audience of 2 billion logged in monthly users will have the opportunity to enjoy other new YouTube original series and specials released from 24th September for free with ads. YouTube’s subscription service, YouTube Premium, will continue to offer ad-free access to all YouTube Originals with all episodes available to them at once to binge. Additionally, YouTube Premium subscribers will have exclusive access to director’s cuts and bonus content of YouTube Originals when available.
The news follows significant growth for YouTube Originals, with total views of the full slate growing more than 40 per cent compared to last year.
“Today, we are welcoming a global audience to enjoy our award-winning series and specials,” says Robert Kyncl, Chief Business Officer for YouTube. “We see a tremendous opportunity to develop more region-specific content, particularly in Europe, Asia and Latin America, and will continue to partner with the biggest stars and creators in the world to share their stories and voices.”
Indeed, the decision to release Cobra Kai for free comes as also unveils it’s slate of new and returning originals.
“This endearingly nostalgic follow-up to The Karate Kid delivers an entertaining punch,” we wrote in our review of Season 1. You can read our review of Season 2 here.