YouTube Premium moves away from paywall
James R | On 29, Nov 2018
YouTube Premium is planning to move away from its paywall model and release its YouTube Originals online for free.
The online giant launched its subscription service back in 2016, offering subscribers a way to watch exclusive and original content, as well as stream the rest of YouTube (including its YouTube Music collection and service) with offline downloads and without any ads. This year, YouTube expanded YouTube Premium to the UK and other countries, with a price of £11.99 a month. While YouTube is planning to introduce a discount for student subscribers, though, the video site is now considering changing up the way it releases its own branded content.
YouTube has increasingly been toying with making its own videos available for free – with adverts – to non-Premium subscribers. Those have primarily been the more mainstream, celebrity-driven videos, such as Will Smith: The Jump. Earlier this month, it also began to experiment with releasing a small number of older movies for free with adverts in the USA. Now, Variety reports that next year, YouTube will start making more of original programming available for free, pivoting away from a Neflix-style structure back to its roots.
“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 said in a statement. “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 calls this strategy its Single Slate, and will eventually combine both subscription-only and free videos, with titles moving in windows between them. In the near term, YouTube will keep some titles, such as Cobra Kai Season 2, behind its subscription paywall. YouTube Premium will also offer subscribers early access to original and exclusive content.
MTV veteran Susanne Daniels will continue to lead YouTube’s originals team, after joining the site in 2015. Recent originals include sci-fi thriller Origin and Step Up: High Water, based on the movie franchise. Coming soon on 16th January 2019 is Wayne, a 10-episode action comedy created by Shawn Simmons and executive produced by Deadpool’s Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick.
You can keep up-to-date with our reviews of YouTube Premium originals, including Origin, Cobra Kai and Bodied, here.