YouTube’s decision is very strategic. Although all of these movies and shows are available for free, users will have to watch advertisements from time to time. This choice may seem counter-intuitive, but YouTube is not the first service to adopt an ad-supported model. Just recently, Disney+ announced that it would be releasing a cheaper subscription tier that costs less per month but plays some ads while you stream. Similarly, Peacock, Roku, and Tubi also operate on an ad-supported basis.
Since YouTube Premium has little to offer compared to services like Netflix, switching to an ad-friendly model might be the right path for YouTube to take. However, the content is still offered for free at this time, and some users may find their way through the ads. Likewise, those who subscribe to YouTube Premium will have access to the same catalog of shows and movies, but won’t have to deal with ads.
Will YouTube ever decide to put all this content behind a defined paywall or will it stick with the current model? It’s hard to say, but the platform certainly has big plans. YouTube revealed that it plans to add new movies and shows on a weekly basis. Currently, the lineup includes classics such as “10 Things I Hate About You” and “Legally Blonde,” with “Runaway Bride” and other fan favorites soon to join the mix.