Wednesday, September 27, 2023

YouTube makes thousands of TV show episodes available to stream for free

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Shreya Christina
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For the first time, YouTube will allow users in the US to stream thousands of free ad-supported TV shows, such as: Hell’s Kitchenheartland and Unsolved Mysteriesthe announced† That will put it in competition with OTA (over-the-air) TV and streaming services with ad levels, including Peacock, the Roku channel, Tubi, and others.

YouTube offers about 4,000 free TV episodes, in addition to the 1,500 movies already available. This month it added a slew of new movie titles, including: Gone in sixty secondsRunaway Bride and legal blondenow available to stream for free (US only) with ads.

With the new TV offering, YouTube undoubtedly hopes to keep American users attached to its platform. Dozens of multi-series episodes allow users to binge-watch as they do on Netflix and other platforms, though most of the content on offer isn’t what you’d call prestige TV. One of its biggest rivals in that regard is Roku TV, which had a very public dispute with YouTube that was only recently resolved.

Until last year, YouTube tried to fill content gaps with its own programming via YouTube Originals. However, earlier in 2022, it announced it was largely abandoning those ambitions and focusing strictly on its Black Voices and YouTube Kids Funds. The program had some success with shows like Cobra Kaibut didn’t really pose a threat to services like Amazon Prime Video and Netflix.

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