YouTube Will Make All Its Original Shows Available For Free Next Year

Big changes are coming for YouTube's premium content strategy, and that's good news for you.

After massive investments in producing their own original, scripted content, it looks like YouTube is making major shifts in how you can watch their shows.

Starting next year, the massive video organisation announced all its original programming will be available for free for anyone to watch. YouTube Originals will be ad-supported, no longer sitting behind a premium paywall.

A YouTube rep told Variety in a statement, "As we look to 2019, we will continue to invest in scripted programming and shift to make our YouTube Originals ad-supported to meet the growing demand of a more global fanbase."

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According to the rep, YouTube will shift its focus toward celebrity-driven and creator-based reality content, with an emphasis on "expand[ing] the audience of our YouTube Original creators".

Calling their new direction a "single slate" strategy, the site hopes to make use of the massive user base. Recent stats suggest there are over 1.9 billion active users every month. The same report suggests that the platform has only about 300,000 users subscribed to the premium site, though YouTube has never confirmed its user numbers.

YouTube has launched a massive slate of content to its Premium service -- formerly known as YouTube Red -- with many anchored by their already established online talent.

The platform has launched over 65 shows since they began in 2016, and in August head of Originals, Luke Hyams told a crowd at the Edinburgh TV Festival to expect over 50 more to be released in 2019.

Unfortunately, hinging content on their talent hasn't always paid off -- the platform had invested heavily in one of its most notable stars, Logan Paul. In late 2017, Paul faced massive global backlash after he and his friends found and then filmed the body of a man who appeared to have died by suicide in Japan's Aokigahara forest.

Logan Paul's vlog was eventually taken down and an apology was issued. In the video the YouTuber wandered around the forest before discovering, filming and posing with a dead body, while wearing a comedy Toy Story hat. Image: YouTube.

Similarly one of the site's biggest stars, PewDiePie, saw the second season of his series pulled after he featured anti-Semitic content in his videos.

The site eventually backflipped on its decision to pull The Thinning sequel, New World Order, saying: "The entire cast and crew worked extremely hard to complete this film last year. In fairness to all of them and the fans who have been asking for the sequel, we decided to release The Thinning: New World Order."

YouTube has also been investing in its subscription music offering, YouTube Music and recently rolled out discounts for students across premium content.

Featured image: Getty Images.