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No one is watching YouTube Originals, so the company is making them available to everyone

Still not going to watch.

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Image: Press Gazette

If you’ve wanted to watch YouTube’s original series based on the Karate Kid franchise, Cobra Kai, but didn’t want to pay the $12 per month for YouTube Premium – you’ll like this news. Variety is reporting that YouTube will be making changes to its original content strategy, including making all its programming free to all “starting next year.”

Well, technically free. In the statement YouTube gave to Variety, the company does mention the “shift to make our YouTube Originals ad-supported.” The new YouTube Originals strategy is called “Single Slate” and combines ad-supported and subscription VOD programming.

If you still want to pay for YouTube Premium for the ad-free experience or offline viewing capabilities, you’ll get other benefits like early access to original programming. In the short term at least, content like the second season of Cobra Kai will remain behind the paywall. Also, if you’re a student, don’t forget about the discounted options.

No paywall means more eyes

This move will expand the reach of content from the YouTube Originals program to over 2 billion people worldwide.

Rivals like Hulu and Netflix might have more programming, and a substantially higher budget for productions but a smaller subscriber base. It’ll be interesting to see if this move pays dividends for YouTube. As recently as 2015, the largest video site in the world was reportedly only “breaking even.” It’s likely that isn’t the picture nowadays, with YouTube making up an estimated 10% of Google’s total revenue for 2017.

YouTube’s original programming hasn’t made waves

Aside from Cobra Kai, YouTube’s original programming hasn’t really made much of an impression on the world. Foursome? I only know some of the cast from controversy, not for the actual show. Kevin Hart: What The Fit? What the F is this? Looks kinda funny, got some great guest stars, and some major WTF moments like this ‘Goat Yoga‘ episode with Khloé Kardashian. But where’s the hype? If that were on even the low-rent cable channels, everyone would be talking about it.

For a company that refers to itself as “largely a single online advertising business, with other smaller product areas within the Google ecosystem,” where’s the advertising of its own content?

I guess the aim is for its content to be a vehicle for other people’s ads, thus making them money. It’d be cool to see them win some awards though.

Do you watch any YouTube original programming? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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