Finally YouTube launched its anticipated paid subscription service plan. This will allow users to experience ad-free content and a bunch of other perks. Named as YouTube Red, this might be the redefining moment not only for YouTube but for the whole digital industry. Finally it can leverage their zillion hours of videos and billions of users. This can be an eminent case study on how the digital services are monetizing their content without ads.
YouTube Red is scheduled to launch initially in US. Later on it would be available across other countries too. As for now, Subscription charges are $9.99 per month. That’s roughly Rs 7400 INR per year. Google’s official blog post said that they are giving their fans exactly what they want by introducing YouTube Red. Launching on 28th October, it is designed to provide users the ultimate YouTube experience.
Some of the features of YouTube Red :
- Ad free viewing of all content on YouTube
- Option of saving videos offline
- Saved videos accessible on cross platforms like tablets, movie, Cloud and desktops
- Option of playing videos in the background
- Membership perks will include across YouTube Gaming app, YouTube Music app (which will launch soon) and Google Play Music.
- Access to the exclusive YouTube content. This content won’t be available on any other platforms like Cinema or TV.
YouTube specifically stated that accessing YouTube will still be free. However by subscribing with YouTube Red, users will be able to support their favorite YouTubers while watching what they want, when they want and on any device which they wish, uninterrupted.
Way back in 2013 and 2014, people had speculated about YouTube’s paid service, which now is a reality.
Option for Content Creators: Signup or Disappear.
The most important aspect of this platform are the content creators. And it seems amidst this paid service, they are being taken for a ride by YouTube/Google. Apparently the content creators are being forced to be a part of YouTube Red. Otherwise they can face extinction. So they don’t have a choice of refusing.
It’s kind of a Signup or Disappear situation for the content creators. Google has made clear to them that if they don’t sign up for YouTube Red, then their channel and their content would not available in the existing old format or in the paid one.
Hence this makes the negotiations very difficult for the content creators. Their hard work is being strategically monetized by YouTube. Many YouTubers have felt that YouTube is bullying them to sign up for this and isn’t being very fair towards them.
This is common sense that churning free viewers into paid ones would make content creators more money. Although many things are hazy and ambiguous as of now. Some tech bloggers have said that instead of coming with ‘Signup or Disappear’ tactic, YouTube should have flagged videos as ‘Not available on Red’. But forcing the content creators to join Red isn’t fair.
This situation is not being very desirable for the content creators as of now. During April, YouTube announced that they will paid 55% of the earned revenues via paid subscriptions to the YouTubers. Whereas Spotify pays around 70% overall revenues to their content creators. Apple Music gives a share of 71.5% to their artists. But here with Google, revenue sharing ratio is much less.
Regarding this issue, Google gave a response saying that it was the wish of both, creators and users for paid YouTube service. Further continued saying that due to overwhelming majority of their content creators, compromising nearly 99% of YouTube’s content, have signed up. Also videos of partners (YouTubers) who do not wish to update to Red will be made private. Although it will remain Google’s priority to work closely with partners who don’t sign up and try to bring them on board eventually.
There are several YouTubers who provide content for mass entertainment such as standup comedy, challenges, DIYs etc. They still feel that ad based income would not surpass subscription based one. However, YouTube Red isn’t giving them much freedom to choose. Either they can sign up for Red or their content will not be accessible. Hence it is believed this is the reason 99% of content creators have signed up for YouTube Red, with or against their wish.