YouTube ditches paywall to make Originals content free

Content will now become ad-funded.

Impulse: YouTube Originals series
Impulse: YouTube Originals series

YouTube Originals, the commissioned content that the platform bundles into a £11.99 monthly ad-free subscription, is becoming fully free and ad-supported.

The move, which has been expected since a change in strategy was announced last year, was confirmed at YouTube’s annual Brandcast event by chief business officer Robert Kyncl.

Both new and old content will be available for free, with ads, from this autumn.

Kyncl said: "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."

YouTube’s ad revenue growth is slowing; growth was recorded at 15% year on year in the first quarter of 2019 compared with 24% in the same period last year, according the latest results from parent company Alphabet earlier this week. Volume growth is slowing, Alphabet said, while ad prices are facing headwinds, according to analyst eMarketer.

Fresh YouTube Originals content will include the third series of both Cobra Kai and Kevin Hart: What The Fit, series two of Impulse and a long-awaited project with Justin Bieber.