As viewership of YouTube in the living room continues to grow, the company is getting into the ad-supported longform game, adding 4,000 library TV episodes and 1,500 movies.
The move will give the Google-owned video power more of a profile in the burgeoning AVOD marketplace. Fox, NBCUniversal, Paramount, Disney and WarnerMedia have all either acquired major AVOD services or launched their own, doing battle with Roku, Crackle and a number of others in the space. The focus has come as cord-cutting and smart-TV adoption both continue to shape the entertainment sector.
Advertising has long been the lifeblood of YouTube and its parent company, Alphabet, and the wind has recently been at the company’s back. In the fourth quarter, YouTube reported a 25% year-over-year increase in ad revenue, to $8.6 billion.
Series included in the new set of offerings include Hell’s Kitchen, Andromeda and Heartland. Movies drawn from the libraries of studios like Disney, Warner Bros. and Paramount include Legally Blonde, Runaway Bride and Gone in Sixty Seconds. The film and TV titles are not exclusive, but they are available free and many are available in 1080p and 5.1 surround sound audio. Given YouTube’s overall reach, the aim is to mobilize the new offerings as another way to entice viewers. The plan is to refresh the catalog monthly with 100 new titles.
In December, according to Nielsen, YouTube reached more than 135 million people on connected TVs in the U.S.
YouTube’s new film and TV offerings are distinct from what can be found on YouTube TV, a full package akin to cable and satellite, only delivered via the internet. That service, which launched in 2017, has more than 3 million subscribers.
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