YouTube to stream free, ad-supported TV shows for the first time

YouTube reached over 135 million people on connected TVs in the US in December 2021. (Credits: Reuters)

As more people turn to streaming as they main way to watch video, YouTube is allowing you to stream full seasons of TV for free.

YouTube announced this week that it would stream free, ad-supported TV shows for the first time.

The company said that the move was a result of people’s watching habits as more people are ‘choosing to experience YouTube on the big screen with friends and family’.

According to Nielsen, YouTube reached over 135 million people on connected TVs in the US in December 2021.

The service will first be rolled out to users in the US, providing them access to more than 4,000 free TV episodes.

It plans to add to its free streaming collection up to 100 more titles each week, including both shows and movies.

Sadly, we don’t yet know if or when the option will become available to UK viewers.

The shows are licensed ‘catalog’ programming that are usually available to stream free with advertising on a bunch of other services too. A sample of titles includes Hell’s Kitchen, Scream Queens and Unsolved Mysteries. 

YouTube announced this week that it would stream free, ad-supported TV shows for the first time. (Credit: YouTube)

‘Now US viewers for the first time will be able to watch full seasons of TV shows on YouTube for free with ads,’ said YouTube in a statement.

YouTube also has over 1,500 movies from Disney, Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures, Lionsgate, and more. New titles in March include Gone in Sixty Seconds, Runaway Bride and Legally Blonde, which are now available to stream for free with ads for US users.

You tube has also added a streamlined navigation and immersive banner art to enhance the viewing experience.

‘The rich visuals and new menus will help you more easily find your favourite TV shows from the comfort of the couch, whether you choose to rent, purchase, or watch for free with ads,’ said the company.

Many of the available titles can also be viewed in high definition 1080p with 5.1 surround sound audio on supported devices.

The hundreds of new titles each week will be available on web browsers, mobile devices, and most connected TVs via the YouTube on TV app.

YouTube has streamed licensed movies free with ads since 2018, but adding TV episodes to the mix could sway watchers to the app on a TV device like a Roku, Amazon Fire TV or Apple TV. 


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