YouTube now lets you watch a limited selection of ad-supported movies for free

The selection is limited to 100 films for now, a selection that YouTube says will eventually expand.

YouTube recently began rolling out full-length feature films on its platform that can be watched for free although one has to bear a regular and persistent onslaught of ads.

According to a report by AdAge, YouTube began adding movies to a new "Free to watch" section in October to a category where users could earlier only rent or purchase movies. The selection of movies may be limited for the time being but there are a few notable ones like Terminator, Zookeeper and Rocky which can be watched for free.

Silhouettes of mobile users are seen next to a screen projection of Youtube logo in this picture illustration. Reuters

Silhouettes of mobile users are seen next to a screen projection of Youtube logo in this picture illustration. Reuters

Speaking to the publication, Rohit Dhawan, YouTube’s director of product management mentions that the company saw an opportunity for consumers and advertisers, and notes that there might be a way for advertisers to “sponsor” films or hold exclusive screenings. Dhawan adds that the current selection of free films will be limited to 100 movies and will be expanded over time.

The addition of an ad-supported movie marketplace by YouTube follows Roku’s entry into the market. Roku which began last year with the launch of its free collection of movies, called The Roku Channel, was soon followed by Walmart's offering Vudu. Amazon, meanwhile, is also expected to be working on a similar service but is yet to make anything official.

As noted by AdAge in its report, YouTube does have an advantage over its rivals in digital advertising because of its ability to target ads and data from Google. YouTube's sizable 1.9 billion monthly active user base is also unparalleled.

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