The news: YouTube users will now be able to stream over 4,000 full seasons of TV shows on the platform for free with ads, with plans to add up to 100 more shows and films every week.
How we got here: YouTube is late to the ad-supported video-on-demand (AVOD) TV show craze that Tubi, Roku, and other major streaming platforms like Disney+ and HBO Max are all getting in on, but it’s been inching in this direction for a while.
The AVOD opportunity: Adding TV shows helps YouTube in several key areas, and allows it to reach the growing audience for ad-supported video that could help make it an even more dominant hub for digital video.
Looking forward: YouTube is already a leader when it comes to non-TV digital video like live streaming, and it leads all social media platforms in time spent. But many of the most popular shows of the moment—including older shows like “The Office” whose clips have historically reached millions of views on the platform—are now locked exclusively behind competing streaming services.