If you had asked me five years ago to pay for YouTube service, I wouldn’t have done it. I’m sure there is a video of me somewhere in which I say that I’ll never pay for a YouTube rental or subscription and “might” pay a dollar or two for the service if it included every channel. That sounds like something I probably would have said, but the site has changed quite a bit since then. The YouTube community not only needs to speak up in support of YouTube Red, but they should be encouraging all of their viewers to pay $9.99 for it as well.
YouTube Red = Ad Free YouTube
There are two things worth mentioning about YouTube Red. It will remove ads from all videos on YouTube if you are subscribed to the service AND it will get you a subscription to YouTube Music. Everything else is fluff. It is rolling out on October 28th in the U.S. with a one month free trial. In a sense you’re paying for Ad-Block here, but I never have and I never will support Ad-Block. YouTube Red gives you the benefit of Ad-Block with the peace of mind of knowing that you’re still supporting all of your favorite creators. YouTube released a video about the new service yesterday, which gives some details about the features included:
How Will YouTube Red Impact Advertisers/Marketers?
YouTube is downplaying the new service’s impact to marketers but it’s a direct challenge. If you are currently using the 30 second pre-roll spot as your primary means of video marketing on YouTube, consider shifting some of your efforts to a more organic approach.
I’m not going to sit here and write that 30 second ad spots are going to disappear any time soon. There will always be a demand for the free portion of YouTube and I expect pre-rolls will be the poison of choice to support that model for years to come. But if YouTube Red can catch on, and that’s a big if considering the YouTube community’s aversion to change, the site could begin a significant transition away from the ad-supported free model into the site-wide subscription model.
The good news for advertisers and marketers is that this change will take years to occur, if at all, so don’t go rushing out and changing all of your budget that’s allocated to the traditional commercial spot. You should have already been looking at more organic ways of working with influencers and this is just another reminder that the traditional 30 second spot is not what consumers want.
How Will YouTube Red Impact the Viewing Experience?
As a viewer, you have two options. Either get YouTube Red or don’t. If you don’t get YouTube Red, there should be absolutely no change to the way YouTube functions for you now. If you like it just how it is, do nothing and you’ll continue to get everything you wanted in exchange for 5-30 seconds of your time before most videos.
If you do get YouTube Red, ads will be a thing of the past for you. You’ll go back to YouTube circa 2007 and depending on how much video you’ve been consuming these days, you could get a lot more of your time back to waste browsing Reddit or just watching more content.
What Does This Mean for Content Creators?
I expect video views to go up across the site. This change will be minimal at first (after the free month) but could begin making a big impact if YouTube Red catches on. It’s pretty simple math here. More time to watch videos, instead of ads, is more time to watch videos. It’s probably one of the reasons why Facebook’s view numbers are higher right now. Their viewers aren’t sitting through pre-rolls.
I know what you’re thinking already, “But what about the money Andy!?”. I’m cautiously optimistic here and I expect the numbers per viewer to look terrible at first. But as more people subscribe to the service, this chunk should grow and reward creators who get people to watch content on a regular basis, simple as that. I’d agree wholeheartedly with a tweet on the topic shared by Total Biscuit:
“Red benefits channels that have grown dedicated audiences that they can hook in for long videos, regularly. If you can't do that, regardless of your channel size, then you have bigger problems. Small niche, passion-driven channels stand to benefit greatly from this if they play their cards right.”
If you were hoping to benefit from YouTube Red but have a very young audience, you may be a little disappointed. The younger your audience is, the less likely I expect they are able to pay a $9.99 monthly subscription fee and may just opt to stick with the ad-supported model. This is not a bad thing. It’s not even really a thing. You won’t even notice it not happening unless you have a friend with a killer knitting channel who keeps bragging to you about all the sweet dough he’s raking in because of the older crowd subscribed to his videos.
Why Pay for YouTube Red?
The biggest complaint I’ve heard so far from the YouTube community is having to pay for something that has always been “free”. You’ll notice I put “free” in quotation marks there because YouTube isn’t “free” and hasn’t been for a while. It may not cost you any money right now, but consider how many ads you watch and how big that timer saver may be for you.
YouTube Red allows YouTube to go back to being YouTube. I don’t know if you’ve noticed Tai Lopez (who I won’t be linking to here), but I have no interest in seeing his garage or house or anywhere else he’s trying to sell his books from anymore. I’ve had enough of him. YouTube Creators sold their influence to the highest bidder, rightfully so, and it has shifted the power on the site away from the content and into the hands of people paying to get their content on top. If there were any single change YouTube could make that would give the power back to the creators of the site, to allow them to create for creation’s sake, it’s YouTube Red.
If you are a creator, urge your viewers to opt-in to YouTube Red. If you are a viewer, grab that free trial on October 28th and give it a spin. The biggest pitfall to YouTube Red is that the community may not quite get what’s going on here and never get behind it. If the community does not get behind the new subscription model, the site will continue to serve the only place the money is coming from right now, the advertisers.
As a bonus, YouTube star, vlog brother, and VidCon organiser took to YouTube and Twitter yesterday to answer some questions about the new YouTube subscription service. It's a long video (around 17 minutes) but he sums up the pros and cons pretty well as far as I'm concerned. Take a look for yourself.
So, you've heard my opinion, now let me hear yours in the comments below. Are you a viewer willing to pay the monthly fee? How do you feel about the new move from a creator point of view?