Start popping the popcorn.
In a world where YouTube is now being viewed on TV sets and large tablets, the video network has quietly added the ability to view feature films — for free.
YouTube cut a deal with movie studio MGM to offer over 100 of its films, including the "Rocky" and "Pink Panther" movies, the original "Terminator," "Legally Blonde," "Zookeeper" and others.
Missing in action are films from other studios, like 20th Century Fox, Walt Disney, Sony, Warner Bros. and Paramount – but it's a start.
YouTube is best known as the home of the short video clip, although some of the creators who make videos for YouTube, like Shane Dawson and Logan Paul, have recently been experimenting with longer original productions.
Additionally, YouTube has embarked on longer originals as part of its YouTube Premium offering, which offers an ad-free way to watch, and gains access to exclusive content.
Some 1.9 billion people visit YouTube monthly.>
YouTube now offers free feature films for viewing (Photo: Screen shot)
The YouTube films feature ads, unless you subscribe to the $9.99 monthly YouTube Premium offering. They appear directly under the collection of recently released films and TV shows that YouTube currently offers for rent and sale.
"We saw this opportunity based on user demand, beyond just offering paid movies," Rohit Dhawan, director of product management at YouTube told Ad Age. "It also presents a nice opportunity for advertisers."
For the current product, YouTube has a wider base of titles available, including recent hits like "Crazy Rich Asians" (for $19.99 to own) or Disney's "The Incredibles 2," to rent, for $4.99. Current hits, "A Star is Born," and "Bohemian Rhapsody" are advertised in the movies section as coming soon.
YouTube also offers episodes and seasons of popular TV shows, like AMC's "Better Call Saul," NBC's "The Good Place" and the classic first edition of Star Trek at $2.99 per episode, or $9.99 to $14.99 for the complete season.
This is similar pricing to how Apple does it on iTunes and Amazon with Prime Video.
The movies and shows are found on the "YouTube Movies" channel, which has over 70 million subscribers.
In recent weeks, there has been outcry over AT&T's decision to kill the FilmStruck subscription movie service, one of the few places online where film fans could get access to watching old classics via streaming.
Many film fans have wondered where today's generation would get to see classics like Charlie Chaplin's "City Lights," "Duck Soup" by the Marx Brothers or "Casablanca," with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman.
They're all available on YouTube. Ditto for Amazon, iTunes and Vudu. But they cost $2.99 to $3.99 to view, and the $9.99 monthly from FilmStruck was clearly a better deal.
Also showing free, ad-supported movies for streaming are Vudu and Tubi.
While the offerings from YouTube are mostly older titles that many haven't heard of (outside of "Rocky," "Pink Panther" and a few other titles), they could be a good fit with folks looking for something to entertain themselves on YouTube.
Nearly 20 percent of YouTube viewing is now done on TVs, either on smart sets with a built-in YouTube app or via streaming players like Roku or Apple TV which bring the YouTube app to TV sets.
Follow USA TODAY's Jefferson Graham (@jeffersongraham) on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
Source : https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/talkingtech/2018/11/19/youtube-now-offers-free-movies-see-including-rocky-pink-panther-films/2048931002/