Video streaming platform YouTube said that users will now be able to stream nearly 4,000 episodes of TV for free, as long as they are also willing to watch ads during the show.
Shows available include Hell’s Kitchen, Andromeda, and Heartland, and users will be able to watch them in the US on the web, mobile devices, and “most connected TVs via the YouTube TV app,” YouTube said in a blog post.
With the new free TV shows, YouTube is taking on a number of major competitors, The Verge reported.
One is over-the-air (OTA) television — by offering free TV on demand, YouTube is likely hoping that users will see what’s available on its platform instead of channel surfing to see what else might be on.
And there are already many options for streaming ad-supported TV for free, including Tubi, Xumo, Plex, Roku, and offerings from Vizio, and Samsung — just to name a few — so YouTube is late to the game.
That said, YouTube is also already where many people spend a lot of time watching videos, so it is not hard to imagine people checking out TV shows they can stream for free while scrolling through other YouTube content.
YouTube’s free TV shows join the platform’s available lineup of free movies with ads, which currently include Gone in Sixty Seconds and Legally Blonde. The company plans to add up to 100 shows and movies each week.