Last month, YouTube started streaming 99 “Free with Ads” Hollywood movies reflecting how the service wants to garner an even larger, conventional audience. The Google video site on Black Friday will be streaming “The Lego Movie” for free as part of a promotion with Warner Bros. Picture for the sequel.
The promotion is being angled as a very long ad to promote the sequel. As noted by The Verge, viewing a trailer for “The Lego Movie 2” on Friday will yield an option to watch the preceding film in its entirety. The original was released in 2014, so the studio isn’t necessarily losing revenue from lost rentals or purchases.
This opens up an exciting advertising model for companies going forward. With the launch of 99 free ad-supported movies, YouTube already speculated about having brands and other advertisers sponsor complimentary streams of feature-length films.
In the case of “The Lego Movie,” the stream could introduce people to the film or incentivize them to watch the sequel as they are now invested in the series. However, “The Lego Movie 2” is not coming out in theatres until February 8, 2019, resulting in a very long lead time.
One interesting strategy would be offering the preceding movie to stream in order to catch up viewers.
The movie has a 100-minute runtime with good reviews all-round, and will be commercial free for all users. According to The Verge, “The Lego Movie” promotion will start midnight PST on November 23rd.