- YouTube announced on Thursday that it will allow users to watch its premium original programming without a subscription (with ads).
- That’s good news for its most popular show, "Cobra Kai."
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You will no longer need a YouTube Premium account to watch "Cobra Kai" or any other original programming the site offers.
In a presentation to advertisers on Thursday in New York City, YouTube confirmed the reports from last year that it would lift the paywall from its original content. Previously, you had to pay $12 a month to watch the original shows on YouTube. Now you will be able to watch them without a subscription, but the shows will have ads appear while you watch. (If you don’t wants ads, you will still have the option to subscribe to YouTube Premium for an ad-free version.)
This will increase the already powerful fandom for "Cobra Kai."
In its second season, the continuation of "The Karate Kid" franchise — with many members of the original cast involved — has been a huge success for YouTube. The first season had a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and when YouTube made the first episode available for free (to entice people to subscribe to YouTube Premium) it was watched over 50 million times. The full second season launched last week and in six days has already reached 20 million views, according to YouTube.
YouTubeLast week, "Cobra Kai" was tracked as the fourth-most in demand streaming show, according to Parrot Analytics. This week it is number one, according to the company.
A big sign of the show’s quality is that it was a good enough idea to get Ralph Macchio to agree to be involved. For 30 years, he declined to reprise his role as Daniel LaRusso in any continuation of the "Karate Kid" franchise after starring in the first three movies.
"This is really the fan’s show," Macchio told Business Insider of "Cobra Kai." "There’s so much joy and positive response from the world with this that to hold back and say, ‘I will only do other things — don’t think of me as that anymore,’ that wouldn’t have been right. It’s become bigger than all of us."
YouTube hopes with this pivot that some of its other premium, TV-like content will get as big of a fanbase as "Cobra Kai."
Next year will be the season 3 premiere of "Kevin Hart: What The Fit." The site also has a Paris Hilton documentary and a "top secret" Justin Bieber project in the works.
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