YouTube will let everyone watch Cobra Kai, other Originals, for free

Cobra Kai - Season 2In a change of strategy, Google decided to make all of YouTube’s new original series and specials available for free, with ads starting this year. The move comes after speculation that YouTube was struggling to make its YouTube Premium subscription-only plan a viable way to pay for the ongoing development costs of its Originals content.

Initially, shows like the popular Cobra Kai were only available to YouTube Premium and YouTube TV subscribers. Earlier in 2019, YouTube confirmed that it would switch to an ad-supported model for this content, but not until 2020. It appears those plans have moved up aggressively. Beginning this fall, the first two seasons of Cobra Kai will be made available for free, starting with season 1, from August 29 to September 11. Season 2 will be released on an episode-per-week basis starting September 11.

It’s not a complete teardown of the YouTube Premium paywall, but the company is promising more of its Originals will show up as ad-supported titles soon, including supernatural drama Impulse and comedy Liza On Demand, starring Liza Koshy. “For today’s viewers, primetime is personal, and our content resonates so strongly due to the diversity and richness of our unmatched library and platform capabilities,” YouTube Chief Business Officer Robert Kyncl said at the Brandcast event for ad executives on Thursday, May 2, Variety reports. “While every other media company is building a paywall, we are headed in the opposite direction.”

Hoping to bolster support for the move to an ad-supported model for its premier content, YouTube released the results of a survey, which purport to show that Cobra Kai is the most “in-demand” digital series in the world right now. We’re not entirely sure what to make of this claim, as the concept of “in-demand” is hardly an industry standard. The stat is the result of Parrot Analytics using a combination of “video consumption (streaming and downloads), social media engagement (hashtags, liking, sharing) as well as research actions (reading about shows, writing about shows, etc.); the more consumer effort is required, the more importance the company attaches to each factor,” according to Samuel Stadler, Parrot Analytics’ vice president of marketing.

Using the in-demand metric, Parrot Analytics places Cobra Kai well above CBS’ Star Trek: Discovery and Netflix’s Stranger Things. Metrics aside, it’s worth noting that ad-supported models for content that was once subscription-only are picking up steam. Hulu recently dropped the price of its ad-supported tier and saw an explosion in subscribers. Both Google and Amazon introduced ad-supported tiers to their music services, intended to grab new listeners among those who use Alexa and Google Assistant devices, like the Echo Plus and Google Home.

Home Theater

With tvOS 12.3, Apple’s TV app begins its platform-conquering journey

Apple's redesigned TV app experience is here, and it's on Apple TV, iOS, and even some smart TVs. But what exactly is this new experience and how is it different than Roku, Amazon, and others? We've got the answers.
Deals

No cable? No problem: Here’s how you can watch UFC fights online

Cord cutting is a great way to save money, but watching sports online can be tricky due to restrictions. If you want to stream UFC, the world’s biggest MMA promoter has joined with ESPN to bring the action online. Here's how to watch.
Android

Keep up-to-date with the best news apps on iPhone and Android

Are the days of traditional newspapers and broadcast news dwindling? With apps this good, maybe. Catch up on the latest headlines on any platform with the best news apps on iOS and Android.
Movies & TV

The 7 best TV episodes you can watch on YouTube for free

TV networks have made a habit of putting episodes from popular series on YouTube for free. From premium platforms like Showtime to experimental newcomers like Viceland, we compiled a few of the best episodes available on YouTube.
Home Theater

These TVs might cost less than $1,000, but they certainly don’t perform like it

Check out our picks for the best TVs under $1,000 to enjoy top-shelf features like 4K Ultra HD, High Dynamic Range, and gorgeous image processing. Park yourself here to find the absolute best values in TV land.
Home Theater

LG’s 2019 TVs slide Alexa next to Google Assistant, with Siri on the way

LG announced that Alexa will be coming to its 2019 lineup of ThinQ A.I. TVs, joining Google Assistant. Users will be able to control their TVs and smart home devices with their remote, no extra speaker required.
Deals

The Best 4K TV deals for Memorial Day: Vizio, Samsung, and LG get discounts

Credit cards at the ready — there's a massive sale on 4K TVs to celebrate Memorial Day, and with pricing starting as low as $230 for a 40-inch and $330 for a 55-inch, there's bound to be something for everyone.
Deals

Dell slashes price on this JBL Harman Kardon Allure smart speaker

Dell has knocked $135 off the Harman Kardon Allure, but there's a catch: There's a limited amount of stock available, so those wanting to scoop up one on the cheap will need to act fast.
Home Theater

What is Android TV? Google’s smart TV software fully explained

Google's Android TV might not be a household name yet, but with growing support from brands like Sony, it will be soon. But what exactly is Android TV, how do you get it, and what are the benefits? We explain it all.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Netflix in March, from Buster Scruggs to Roma

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Home Theater

Here’s how to watch The Big Bang Theory online — including season 12

We've rounded up all the best places to watch The Big Bang Theory online (and triple-checked to ensure that the entire article is free of spoilers, so there's no need to read with one eye closed).
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix right now (May 2019)

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Deals

Take a gander at the best 4K smart TV deals for May 2019

A good 4K smart TV is the only way to enjoy all your favorite shows, movies, and games in glorious Ultra HD. We've got the best 4K TV deals, including a few Memorial Day weekend offers, right here.
Deals

Walmart Memorial Day sale: 4K TVs, laptops, and Apple iPads get price cuts

The Walmart Memorial Day sale has begun. With some pretty nice savings on Apple iPads, Samsung and Vizio 4K TVs, laptops, and Google Home devices, now is a great time to snag some electronics for cheap.