Well, it was fun while it lasted if you watched Cobra Kai.
If you were (for whatever reason) pondering buying a YouTube Premium subscription for a look at their original programming, you can probably hold off. YouTube released an official statement this week announcing that 2019 would bring many of the platform’s original shows out from behind the paywall. Now going by the name “Single Slate,” this decision makes them available with ad support. By 2020, the full library (including comedies like Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes, Kevin Hart: What the Fit, and the forthcoming shows Champaign ILL and Wayne) will be available to users for free.
The explanation given cites a wish to continue creating scripted series but redirecting toward original creators’ work:
This next phase of our originals strategy will expand the audience of our YouTube Original creators, and provide advertisers with incredible content that reaches the YouTube generation.
The move is framed as a way to get their programming in front of as many eyeballs as possible. Further, it could elevate talented creators already monetizing content on the site. However, their buzzword-y framing also dances around the fact that in 8 months, YouTube Premium’s momentum has been…not great. And given all the competition it went up against between Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, this considerable scaling-back is likely the right choice. But there will be some value in a Premium subscription; users there will have access to new content early, as well as exclusive bonus content- and of course, won’t have to hover over the “Skip Ad” button until just the right moment.