Exhausted everything you could possibly want to watch on Netflix? Forgotten how to work a DVD player?
What if I told you YouTube has been busily sneaking ad supported films onto its site, which are completely free to watch? Yup. As of October 2018, film fans can catch approximately one hundred movies on YouTube without any charge whatsoever.
This includes blockbuster favourites such as Rocky, The Terminator and Legally Blonde (one and two), as well as acclaimed documentaries such as Jesus Camp and Jiro Dreams Of Sushi.
Each movie comes with commercial interruptions, with regular pop-up ads, but anyone who has ever watched a film on the traditional tellybox won’t mind this too much.
Movie buffs have been able to download Hollywood classics from YouTube for some years, but this is the first time a ‘Free to watch’ category has been introduced.
YouTube has previously experimented with offering some original free programming with ads, whilst keeping other titles just for paying subscribers. However, this surprisingly under the radar move is a notable step forward.
As reported by AdAge, director of product management at YouTube, Rohit Dhawan said:
We saw this opportunity based on user demand, beyond just offering paid movies. Can we do ad-supported movies, free to the user?
It also presents a nice opportunity for advertisers.
CEO of video on demand service Tubi, Farhad Massoudi, reportedly said:
Ad-supported video is a huge market.
There’s a lot of consumer traction and I expect all the major companies will jump in at some point.
This is a huge business opportunity.
Low-quality, low-production video is predominantly what’s available on the web, and advertisers have seen a lot of issues with that. They don’t want to be associated with that type of content.
Chief technology officer at video ad technology platform Innovid, Tal Chalozin, said:
They are now a TV network, They bring the audience and the distribution. And with better programming they can increase the ad prices.
Going forward, YouTube now hope to expand upon their current selection of free movies, which admittedly is still a little limited. A majority of the titles are still a little so-so, including the likes of the okay-ish Zookeeper, The Pink Panther 2 and Agent Cody Banks.
Although there are already a few premium titles to browse, it would be fun to see a wider range of classics as well as some contemporary gems to attract a younger audience. And a Christmas film or two as December approaches wouldn’t hurt…
For now, we can all just enjoy the deeply satisfying fact that all five Rocky films are readily available to watch on YouTube right now, allowing fans the chance to relive the original drama before Creed II hits cinemas.
I don’t know why legally blonde is free to watch on youtube…but I’m happy about it
— ellen the generous (@resettis) November 18, 2018
Hackers is free to watch on YouTube now, which makes it fun to put on and scroll through comments 😂 pic.twitter.com/HF9tcNETnX
— Wesley McGrew (@McGrewSecurity) November 17, 2018
Approximately 1.9 billion users watch content on YouTube on a monthly basis, and according to recent statistics, almost 20 per cent of users access the video sharing platform using their smart TV.
Which movie titles would you like to see on YouTube’s new service?
You can catch Creed II in UK cinemas from November 30, 2018.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.