If you don't mind sitting through ads while watching your favorite movies, YouTube has some great news for you. YouTube is now streaming movies for free, with commercials interspersed throughout the films. And while putting ads in movies might not seem revolutionary, it's still a surprising move for YouTube.
TV shows and movies still air with commercials on cable (even if you can skip them with your DVR), but streaming services often appeal to viewers looking to bypass ads, with Hulu and FX+'s no-commercials options offering uninterrupted viewing for an increased price. Still, if you're a budget-conscious viewer looking for a nostalgic film, YouTube's ad-supported movie offerings are an affordable way to have a movie night at home, without any cost or subscription commitment.
Of course, YouTube has long offered users the ability to purchase movies and TV shows through the site and app. But with the new model, there's no purchase required, as long as you don't mind sitting through a few commercials. Plus, this is an initiative that's being offered by YouTube directly. So you don't have to worry about any potential quality issues that can sometimes be associated with fan-uploaded movies and TV episodes that are on the site (not to mention the legal issues).
Right now, YouTube's ad-supported movie offerings include a number of nostalgic films. These aren't necessarily the most highbrow cinematic choices, but there's nothing wrong with a low-key night in with an '00s classic. Some of the movies you can stream for free on YouTube include favorites like Agent Cody Banks and Legally Blonde, AdAge noted.
AdAge also pointed out that YouTube started rolling out the ad-supported movies in October, though not all users were aware that YouTube's option to stream full-length movies for free existed. According to the outlet, there are about 100 free movies available on YouTube. In addition to the nostalgic films, there are also some notable classic movies streaming for free too, including the first four Rocky films, as well as The Terminator.
If you're curious about what's available for free on the site, it's super easy to scroll through the options. From the YouTube Movies section scroll down to the "Free to Watch" list, where you'll find movies like Uptown Girls and Saved!, along with the aforementioned titles.
For fans who don't mind forking over a little money for streaming services, YouTube's paid subscription plans are still available, too. There's YouTube TV, which offers live TV from cable channels for $40 a month, as well as YouTube Premium, which offers ad-free videos and music for $11.99 a month. The latter option also includes access to YouTube's exclusive series like Cobra Kai.
And while it might seem like most people are watching YouTube (and Hulu, and Netflix) on their phones or laptops, AdAge reports that almost 20 percent of YouTube users actually use the streaming service on TVs. So for those users in particular, access to free films on the site could be a movie-night game changer.
However you watch movies, there's nothing wrong with having more options from your favorite streaming services. Even if YouTube's free movie offerings don't inspire you to cancel your Netflix or Hulu subscriptions, having the opportunity to watch something for free beats having to pay to rent it — even if it means going old school and dealing with a few commercial breaks.