YouTube introduces free, ad-supported movie streams

Google has been offering movies for sale through YouTube for years, but last month that changed when the video-sharing website quietly started offering select movies in ad-supported form.

As AdAge reports, YouTube decided to introduce free, ad-supported movie streams because it's what users want, with Rohit Dhawan, director of product management at YouTube, stating "We saw this opportunity based on user demand, beyond just offering paid movies. Can we do ad-supported movies, free to the user?"

YouTube obviously also saw the potential for advertisers to jump on this and place their ads in front of a captive audience. The revenue generated will be split with the movie studios who agree to allow their movies to be offered using this free format. It's something they are already very used to doing on traditional television channels, after all.

The movies available with adverts so far total about 100, with The Terminator, Rocky, Legally Blonde, and Agent Cody Banks giving you some idea of the breadth of content. The latest stats reveal that we've already reached a point where 20 percent of YouTube is watched via a smart TV and it's growing. Add to that the data Google has on individual consumers and you can see the potential for not only getting us to watch adverts during a movie, but for those ads to be targeted at individual viewers.

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As HotHardware reports, sitting through the free version of The Terminator available on YouTube requires also viewing ten commercial slots. It's safe to assume that will be the norm, but there's also an opportunity for advertisers to sponsor specific videos and grab all the slots for itself. Ten slots sounds like a lot to me, but it depends how they are split across each movie.

This article originally appeared on PCMag.com.