YouTube to Offer Originals on Ad-Supported Platform

YouTube will now offer its original programming fare on an ad-supported basis, marking a major switch from its premium-based distribution strategy, the streaming service said during its Newfront presentation Thursday night.

YouTube said that it will roll out several new shows focused on music learning and personalities that will be ad-supported, including the new season of Cobra Kai -- the reboot series based on The Karate Kid film franchise -- that has been renewed for a third season, said network officials.

The first two seasons of Cobra Kai will also be moved to an ad supported platform beginning this fall, according to the service. Those seasons were initially offered as part of the YouTube Premium subscription service.

“For today's viewers, primetime is personal and our content resonates so strongly due to the diversity and richness of our unmatched library and platform capabilities,” said Chief Business Officer Robert Kyncl in a statement. “While every other media company is building a paywall, we are headed in the opposite direction and now have more opportunities than ever to partner with advertisers and share our critically- acclaimed originals with our global audience.”

Among the new shows being developed for YouTube include BookTube, Could You Survive the Movies, Retro Tech, Show Me The Evidence and The School of Life. The company also announced new projects with Justin Bieber and Tiffany Haddish.

Returning series include Kevin Hart: What The Fit, said the company.

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.