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YouTube Enters “Free TV” Streaming Wars, Adds Access To Nearly 4,000 Free Classic TV Episodes

YouTube Enters “Free TV” Streaming Wars, Adds Access To Nearly 4,000 Free Classic TV Episodes

YouTube will now offer access to free TV shows, including Gordon Ramsey favorites “Hell’s Kitchen” and “Kitchen Nightmares."

In a blog post, YouTube said U.S. users will be able to access about 4,000 episodes of classic TV shows, adding to the service’s collection of free-to-stream movies. The television series can be found right now under the “Movies & Shows” tab on the YouTube desktop, mobile and connected TV apps.

As of press time, free shows include Gordon Ramsey favorites “Hell’s Kitchen” and “Kitchen Nightmares,” reality series “Scream Queens” and scripted drama “Heartland,” among others. The bulk of the free programs is made up of classic sitcoms, dramas and reality series. The company said the majority of the programs will be available in 1080p high definition, with 5.1 surround sound audio on select devices.

YouTube said it would be adding up to 100 new titles each week. These television shows will be added to the platform’s existing collection of over 1,500 movies from leading home entertainment distributors, including Lionsgate, Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros. and Disney.

While Netflix, HBO Max and Hulu battle it out for paid subscribers, other tech companies are making substantial investments in ad-supported, streaming television services. Roku is adding more free, ad-supported content to its Roku Channel, Amazon does the same with IMDb TV, as Paramount is doing with Pluto and the Fox Corporation the same with Tubi. That’s not even mentioning free TV from Samsung and Vizio, as well as Peacock, Plex and Sumo.

Consumer adoption of connected TVs continues to skyrocket. Insights from Parks Associates suggest that more than 56% of American households own a “Smart TV.” This is while cable and satellite providers continue to see subscribers “cut the cord” in droves, with over 4.6 million Americans canceling their pay-TV subscriptions in 2021.