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YouTube now lets you watch free ad-supported TV shows

Free to you, that is. Somebody is paying for them via advertising.

youtube tv logo
Image: KnowTechie

YouTube just announced it’s getting into ad-supported, free TV for the first time. The new service has over 4,000 TV episodes, some with full seasons; and over 1,500 movies from the biggest names in entertainment.

Users who head to YouTube for free movies or free shows will see a “new, streamlined navigation and immersive banner art.”

You’ll see familiar faces in the mix; from Gordan Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares to Andromeda, Relic Hunter, and classics like Midsomer Murders.

Ad-supported movies have been on YouTube since 2018; with titles like Gone in 60 Seconds, Legally Blonde, and Runaway Bride all appearing this month.

screenshot of youtube tv's free shows page
Image: YouTube

YouTube says they’re going to increase the number of titles weekly, by at least 100 a week. The move puts YouTube in direct competition with Hulu, Tubi, Pluto TV, The Roku Channel, IMDb TV, Xumo, Plex, and NBCU’s Peacock for the first time.

READ MORE: How to watch YouTube ad-free on Android now that Vanced is gone

That’s bad news for the crowded streaming market. The number of ad-supported TV streaming services is ever-growing, while the number of eyes to watch them stays fairly static.

A new report from Kantar says 85-percent of US households have a video subscription. That report also shows that growth is coming from ad-supported services, and not the more expensive, ad-free tiers.

READ MORE: YouTube Kids exposed for suggesting drug and gun videos

YouTube already gets 135 million viewers on connected TVs, according to Nielsen data. That’s before ad-supported TV shows were added. With YouTube’s reach and self-promotional efforts, expect the service to grow as it adds more content.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek. Hardware guy here at KnowTechie, if it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't) I probably have one around here somewhere. My hobbies include photography, animation, and hoarding Reddit gold.

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