YouTube’s ‘Cobra Kai’ To Kick It At Netflix, Starting With Season 3

By 06/22/2020
YouTube’s ‘Cobra Kai’ To Kick It At Netflix, Starting With Season 3

One of YouTube’s most notable originals has officially found a new home.

Cobra Kai, a canon continuation of hit 1984 film The Karate Kid featuring Ralph Macchio and William Zabka reprising their roles as titular kid Daniel LaRusso and his martial arts nemesis Johnny Lawrence, will move to Netflix ahead of its third season, Variety reports.

“The rivalry between Daniel and Johnny is one for the ages, and the show has a ton of heart and is a lot of fun,” Brian Wright, VP of original series at Netflix, told the outlet. “We can’t wait to introduce a new generation of fans to Cobra Kai and are thrilled to be its new home around the world.”

The series premiered in 2018 to critical and audience acclaim. To date, the first episode of season one has netted 86 million views, and the first episode of season two has netted 85 million. (Viewership figures for other episodes are hidden.) Its first two seasons are still free to watch on YouTube for now, but will apparently bump over to Netflix later this year. A premiere date for season three is forthcoming.

Sources familiar with the matter told Variety that YouTube tried to broker a similar deal with Netflix ahead of Cobra Kai’s season two premiere last year, but that one fell through. It’s possible YouTube redoubled efforts to find the series a new home after deciding to make all originals free to watch, rather than reserving them for YouTube Premium users. That decision has seen the platform shift away from scripted series–save a few from YouTube creators–and toward an array of broad-appeal music documentaries, plus educational programming featuring the likes of Michelle Obama and Robert Downey Jr.

Cobra Kai isn’t the first series to move on post-paywall: around this time last year, YouTube lost Kirsten Dunst’s On Becoming a God in Central Florida to Showtime, reportedly because it couldn’t nail down advertising deals; and in May, another of its high-profile scripteds, Step Up: High Water, went to Starz.