YouTube is upping its play for cord-cutters: The video platform has released dozens of full seasons of about 100 TV shows — nearly 4,000 episodes in all — available to stream for free with ads.
The free TV shows are available only to YouTube users in the U.S. The lineup includes Gordon Ramsay’s “Hell’s Kitchen” and “Kitchen Nightmares,” “Andromeda,” “Heartland,” “Scream Queens,” “Unsolved Mysteries,” “Sanctuary,” “Hidden Palms,” “21 Jump Street,” “Iron Chef,” “Brewster Place” and “Are We There Yet?”
YouTube’s addition of the licensed TV shows marks a bigger move to compete with free, ad-supported television (FAST) rivals like Paramount’s Pluto TV, Fox’s Tubi and Amazon’s IMDb TV.
The new lineup of free TV shows on YouTube comes in addition to a selection of free movies also available to stream for free with ads. Currently, the platform provides more than 1,500 movies from partners including Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution, Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures, Lionsgate and FilmRise. New films on YouTube in March include “Gone in Sixty Seconds,” “Runaway Bride,” “Grumpy Old Men” and “Legally Blonde.”
YouTube says it is adding up to 100 new titles per week to stream for free. The free TV episodes and movies are available to U.S. users on web browsers, mobile devices, and most connected TVs via the YouTube on TV app.
Along with the thousands of free TV episodes, YouTube has released a new streamlined navigation interface as well as new banner art. Many of the titles are also now available in 1080p HD with 5.1 surround sound audio on supported devices. “The rich visuals and new menus will help you more easily find your favorite TV shows from the comfort of the couch, whether you choose to rent, purchase, or watch for free with ads,” the video platform said in a blog post.
According to Nielsen, YouTube reached over 135 million people on connected TVs in the U.S. in December 2021.