YouTube now offers TV show seasons to stream for free

YouTube fuels the growing landscape of free ad-supported TV (FAST), adding today full seasons of TV shows available to stream. Viewers now have access to more than 4,000 episodes of ad-supported content.

Popular titles available include “Hell’s Kitchen,” “Heartland,” “Andromeda” and other selections. Many of them are available in high definition 1080p with 5.1 surround sound audio on supported devices. The video sharing platform expects to add up to 100 new titles each week for U.S. viewers.

TV shows are expanding YouTube’s free content library, which has more than 1,500 movies. YouTube also added content including “Gone in 60 Seconds,” “Legally Blonde” and other movies this month.

The free streaming market includes key players like Tubi, Pluto TV, the Roku Channel and more, so it comes as no surprise YouTube is diversifying its free content. According to Tubi’s annual audience insights study released in February, ad-based video on demand (AVOD) audiences grew 16% in 2021, compared to subscription video on demand (SVOD) users increasing 8%. The company said the opportunity for AVOD to expand total view time (TVT) “has never been greater.”

Pluto TV partnered with Google TV in December to roll out 300 free Pluto TV channels to Google devices. DistroTV, an independent AVOD, recently expanded its services to 17 Latin American countries, further highlighting FAST growth.

YouTube’s ubiquity as well as its access to Google’s TV market shares make the platform a prime FAST candidate. YouTube’s existing user base offers a “clear advantage” in the FAST market, according to Brett Sappington, vice president of research at Interpret.

YouTube already offers a variety of movies and shows available for purchase or rent as well as live TV access with the YouTube TV SVOD. As of December 2021, YouTube has reached over 135 million people on connected TVs in the U.S.