As the word is getting out about a new subscription service from YouTube, many online video viewers are asking, “What is YouTube Red and do I need it?”
YouTube Red is a new subscription plan that is being launched by the internet video giant later this month. The service will provide ad-free videos, new original movies, and on-demand unlimited streaming music. YouTube is expected to charge viewers $9.99 a month to use the plan.
The Red subscription joins other popular video streaming services who also offer ad-free watching. As reported previously by the Inquisitr, Hulu recently launched its own ad-free service in September. A Hulu subscriber, who normally pays $8 a month, can add the “No Commercials” plan for another $4 a month.
— YouTube (@YouTube) October 21, 2015
In an MSN report, the YouTube Red plan will include exclusive access to new videos, known as “Originals,” set to release next year. The unique video content will run from a few minutes to feature-length films, and YouTube stars like the Fine Brothers, Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg, as well as several others, have jumped on board.
With a subscription to Red, YouTube users will also have the ability to download videos to a mobile device for later offline viewing. YouTube hopes this feature alone will entice many users to opt into the $9.99-a-month plan.
Additionally, the audio-only streaming service Google Play Music, which is set to replace YouTube Music Key, will be a part of the plan. A new YouTube Music app will be launched around Christmas allowing subscribers to access fan-uploaded music then watch or listen without advertising. YouTube Red will allow users to access two music streaming services for the price of one.
YouTube, a division of Google, is confident the service will be a success, as more and more consumers are demanding ad-free experiences. With the help of Google’s money, Red will have the backing to go toe-to-toe with the likes of Netflix and Hulu and has the potential to take over the industry. Even if just 5 percent of U.S. viewers signed up to pay the $9.99 a month, over a billion dollars would be added to YouTube’s annual revenue.
The ad-free Red subscription has many companies who advertise on the video site worried. However, YouTube says revenue from advertising will remain its primary business. Recently speaking with the Verge, YouTube’s chief business officer Robert Kyncl offered some reassurance to advertisers.
“We believe in the advertising business. Ninety-nine point nine percent of the content on YouTube will be free, as it always has been.”
He went on to say that watch time by viewers continues to grow 60 percent year after year, and advertising partners will not see any significant difference after Red becomes available.
“There is nothing we are taking away from there, merely adding onto it,” Kyncl stated.
At first, many popular YouTube video creators were nervous over forcing fans to pay for the Red service in order to see their videos. Yet, the YouTube team eventually calmed their anxiety after explaining that most videos will be still be available whether someone buys a subscription or not. Non-subscribers will see ads while subscribers will not.
Red isn’t the first time the online video juggernaut has tried a subscription service. In 2013, YouTube launched paid channels. Soon after, a concept they called fan funding was introduced, where viewers could donate money to video creators. Neither one of the ideas ever took hold, as many YouTube users either didn’t know about them or didn’t understand them.
With the rapid decline of cable and network television, this may be the right time and place for a successful YouTube subscription service to finally take hold. With an average session on mobile reaching 40 minutes, YouTube reaches more 18 to 34-year-olds than any cable network. Should the model work this time, it will be a huge win-fall for YouTube in terms of revenue.
The occasional viewer of YouTube videos will probably pass on the Red subscription. Yet, if you are a huge fan of some of the biggest YouTube stars and exclusive, original content is important to you, then the service might be worth paying for.
YouTube Red will be available October 28 in the U.S. and soon after worldwide.
[Image via Shuttershock]