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While many people have used YouTube as a source of “free” entertainment for years, not every movie, audiobook, or song has been uploaded with the permissions intact. It’s not uncommon to get halfway through a series only to encounter an “error” message announcing that it’s been pulled due to copyright infringement. With so many networks aggressively guarding their content licenses, sharing sites like YouTube have become increasingly vigilant in their efforts to enforce copyright infringement laws.
In November, YouTube decided to take a very different approach, and added over 100 hours of movies available at no extra cost. The only catch? Every movie comes complete with ads placed at regular intervals throughout the program. Essentially, the rebirth of pre-DVR television. The movies range from classic “Terminator,” to “Shakira: Latin Queen.” They may not be the latest in big studio releases, but it’s enough to kill an afternoon. And, of course, the price is right.
This expansion initially received very limited advertising, and was largely reported by tech publications. Now, it appears that the company is making up for lost time. According to Cord Cutters News, YouTube has officially adopted an accelerated social media campaign promoting its free movies. After a month of quietly gauging the reaction of consumers, this could bring enough new interest to prompt the growth of the service.
As major advertisers have recognized the money-making potential of streaming services, ad-supported entertainment has made a modest comeback. Sony Crackle, Roku, and even Wal-Mart (among others) have jumped on the opportunity, and programming funded by third party advertisers is increasingly accessible.
However, some viewers have criticized YouTube for offering dated content that’s readily available on other venues. Proving, once again, that entertainment is in the eye of the subscriber.
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