Youtube Red Will Provide Viewers an Ad-Free Experience; But Content Creators Given Just 2 Options: Signup or Disappear


Youtube Red

Youtube has finally launched their much anticipated paid subscription plan, which will allow users to access ad-free videos and a bunch of other advantages. Christened as “Youtube Red”, this is certainly one of those redefining moments for Youtube, as it can finally leverage their billions of hours of videos and millions of daily viewers.

Youtube Red can also be an excellent case study on how digital services can monetize their content without advertisements.

Youtube Red is being initially launched in US, but subsequently, it would be rolled out across other countries. Subscription charges are $9.99 per month or roughly Rs 7400 per year in INR.

In their blog post, Google said, “On October 28th, we’re giving fans exactly what they want. Introducing YouTube Red — a new membership designed to provide you with the ultimate YouTube experience.”

Features which Youtube Red subscribers would be able to enjoy:

  • Ad free access of all videos on Youtube
  • Videos can be saved for offline usage
  • Access of saved videos on various devices such as mobiles, tablets, desktops and Cloud
  • Videos can be played on background as well
  • Membership advantages will be available across Youtube Gaming app; Youtube Music App (which would be launched very soon) and Google Play Music
  • Access to exclusive content on Youtube, which would not be available on other platforms such as TV/cinema

Youtube has categorically stated that Youtube access is still free, however, “with YouTube Red, you’ll be able to support the people who make your favorite videos while watching what you want, when you want, on any device you want, uninterrupted.”

Way back in 2013 and in 2014, we had speculated about $9.99 per month paid Youtube access, with the features which are now confirmed.

Content Creators: Sign up or Disappear

Amidst the excitement of this paid Youtube plan, it seems that the most important entity of this whole platform: The content creators, are being taken for a ride by Google.

Apparently, all content creators are being forced to signup for Youtube Red, or else they can face extinction. Technically, its an offer which they can’t refuse.

It’s literally a “signup or disappear” situation for them, as indirectly, Google has informed all content creators that if they don’t sign up for Youtube Red, then their content would be neither available in old free format nor in the new paid format.

This leaves very little room for negotiation for all content creators, whose hard work is now being monetized by Youtube. Techcrunch has said that “It’s a tough pill to swallow that makes YouTube look like a bully..”.

Although its a proven fact that turning free viewers into paid subscribers would enable content creators to make more money; but things are hazy and doubtful as of now. Some observers are commenting that instead of ‘signup or disappear” strategy, Youtube could have simply flagged such videos as “Not on Red”. But here, the content creators are forcefully signed up for this paid feature.

The situation becomes sticky here, as in the month of April, Youtube had said that they will pay 55% of the revenues generated via paid subscription to the content creators. Spotify pays 70% of overall revenues to the content creators; Apple Music pays 71.5% to the artists; but with Google, the revenue sharing arrangement is much less.

Yesterday, Google emailed this response to Techcrunch, regarding the issue:

“Both creators and users have been asking for a YouTube subscription service and that’s why we built YouTube Red. Today, the overwhelming majority of our partners, representing nearly 99% of the content watched on YouTube, have signed up. Videos of partners who don’t update their terms will be made private, but we remain committed to working closely with these partners with the goal to bring them on board.”

There are several content creators who are specializing in mass entertainment like standup comedy etc, who feel that advertisement based revenues would be higher than subscription based revenues. But with Youtube Red, they don’t have much of an option – either they can signup, or their content would not be available; this is the reason 99% of content creators have actually signed up for this paid service!

We will keep you updated, in case Youtube and Google come up with more clarification regarding this issue.

In case you are a content creator, then do share your views on Youtube Red by commenting right here.

In case you are a Youtube user, then will you opt for Youtube Red by paying $9.99 / month? Do share your views by commenting right here!

1 Comment
  1. Shekhar says

    This is absolutely the most brilliant example of exploiting a monopoly. Youtube’s fundamental idea is to let people share their videos on a global platform, however, charging Rs 7400 per year is actually a bit of too much for this kinda service.
    No one loves ads, it’s true, but the ads are the projection of something new.. an “i’m feeling lucky” button is not in scene so far. Either a whole new range of options should be provided with packages or it should go-on with-ads.
    Well, a cash-cow is something you can experiment on, but putting restrictions and charges are a bugle of doom.

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