Cobra Kai is set to leave YouTube and release Season 3 on another streaming service. Deadline reports that the YouTube flagship series will be pulling up stakes ahead of next season. The Google-owned platform used Cobra Kai as a priority in the early days of their YouTube premium initiative, but things have changed. Now, Sony Pictures TV will be at the reins again as a couple of suitors have emerged for the legacy program, with Netflix and Hulu showing strong interest in Cobra Kai. One of the shows that drew a lot of people into the YouTube premium service, it will be interesting to see what the company comes up with to fill that hole in their programming with more combatants entering the streaming fray.
If that weren’t strange enough, whoever gets the rights to Season 3 of Cobra Kai will also have access to the first two seasons of the show on a non-exclusive basis. That means that fans can easily catch up on everything that’s been going on before diving in for the new season. YouTube had negotiated ownership and exclusive global rights to the first two seasons in the original license agreement with Sony Television. People began to wonder what would happen to Cobra Kai as far back as 2018. YouTube’s big gamble on shifting to a subscription model didn’t exactly light the world on fire and despite shows like Cobra Kai, it never gained mass adoption.
When the Google-owned entity decided to shift back to an advertising-based model instead of subscriptions, something had to give. The sheer fact of the matter is, unscripted shows just have less cost associated with them. In a proof of this kind of thinking, every one of the originals that aired on YouTube since the switch has been canceled except Cobra Kai and Liza on Demand. Liza Koshy’s show will remain on, as it has been renewed for additional seasons, but the Karate Kid spin-off will be finding a new home, wherever that may be. Season 2’s Cobra Kai premiere set records for YouTube. However, the company didn’t really see a path forward to renewing it for Season 4.
Sony Television had to do what was best for the show and look for a partner that would allow them to keep the show going. Negotiations are ongoing, but YouTube will not release the series until a new partner has been found. Luckily for the people behind Cobra Kai, the demand for their show is actually quite high. With so many streaming services looking for an edge, a show with a built-in fanbase and already having a season in the can is like gold. The only question remaining is which platform will win the bid.
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