Yes, you can now watch free movies on YouTube. Not very many yet. I just checked and they’re still at 99. They’re one of several online services doing this.
I received a feed about it from Slashdot, which pointed me to one website, which referenced another. As far as I can tell, the story broke at AdAge. Why? Because of the embedded advertising, of course.
No one knows how many free movies YouTube will offer. I don’t think anyone knows how many movies, in total, are available at Netflix or Amazon Prime either. Other than them, obviously. Anyway, it appears to be only one channel (or one playlist) called “Free to watch”. You can probably tell I’m not well-versed in the YouTube vernacular.
At present, there are only three movies out of all them that I want to “re-watch” since I’ve seen them before: The Terminator, Rocky and Rocky II. Although all the Rocky movies except the last one are available, only the first two appeal to me.
YouTube certainly isn’t the first of the streaming video services to offer free movies that are ad-supported. They may not even be the best. They’re competing for your eyes and having you watch videos, any videos, is their goal.
The desktop interfaces for some of the other streaming video services seem lacking. YouTube, probably because it’s been around longer, seems to have the best. The others seem to focus on their smartphone apps, without much care about desktop users.
I’ve tried Pluto TV and Tubi in the past. I just tried Vudu this morning. It offers ad-supported videos as well as rentals and sales. Like all of them (except YouTube), it tends to stutter on the desktop regardless of the download speed available. There are probably a few more services with free movies I don’t know about. I have no desire to search them out.
The number of free movies on any of the services is limited. If you want a lot of movies to choose from, you have to subscribe to a premium service. That is, unless you collect them yourself (and I do). I have hundreds of movies at home in the Philippines, stored on external drives. I’m running out of storage space, so I intend to buy some computer storage media while I’m still in the United States.
The movies I keep at home are those that are easy to watch more than once. They’re reserved for those times when access to online services is painful or nonexistent. That seems to happen a lot in the Philippines. Most of the movies I keep are now offered as free movies. The difference is I don’t have to watch embedded advertising to enjoy them.