If you are a YouTube junkie like me who spends a lot of time watching random videos, you must have come across the term “YouTube Red” in the past few weeks. And if you’re as lazy as I am, you didn’t even bother to know more about it. Well, let me help you out.
A few months back, YouTube announced their latest service called YouTube Red. According to Google, YouTube Red is a paid monthly subscription based service with a lot of fun perks that will make watching videos a lot more easy and comfortable. So, now the question, what does it actually do?
Ever clicked on the trailer of the movie you’ve been excited to watch for the last few months and and just about when you’re expecting a thrilling opening soundtrack,you hear a guy advertising about some product? Yeah,I feel you. Thankfully, a cure has been discovered. YouTube Red provides it’s users an ad-free video experience. No more 5 second wait of those boring advertisements before you finally hit the skip button. Once you subscribe, YouTube will become ad-free for you across all platforms be it the website, apps, console, etc.
Another feature allows you to save any video for offline viewing and then view the video anywhere even without an internet connection. The catch here is that the saved video will only be available for the next 30 days and then you have to download it again. The video will also have the option to be saved in a resolution as per the user’s choice. Needless to say, the lower the resolution,the less data consumed during saving of the video.
Red was initially launched as a music streaming service but now the service has included videos and re-branded as YouTube Red. For the music lovers, this service will allow users to play music or video on YouTube as a background activity- a feature which was being pushed for a lot of time. So now you if you want to listen to YouTube music while texting or gaming or even turning off your screen, your savior has arrived. Red will also contain unlimited access to Google Play Music which means it can become a heavy competitor in the music streaming industry currently dominated by Spotify, Tidal, etc.
The service will cost $10 a month which is about 600 bucks in Indian currency. The service was launched in US last year October with Google promising the international launch in the first quarter of 2016. So, the Indian launch should be right around the corner. The user will get one month trial subscription on signing up to test the waters.
One other interesting part is that YouTube Red will contain some original high budget content (sponsored by major productions) created by famous YouTubers like PewDiPie, Superwoman, etc. This content will be available exclusively to only YouTube Red subscribers. While the move has been appreciated by creators since they stand to gain a lot more money from this, many critics have stated that this could divide the fan-base into two categories-the one’s who can afford to pay and the one’s who can’t. One of the things that make YouTube special is that at it’s best, its a flat platform for both creators and the audience. Any creator sitting in the basement shares the same audience as a major media company. The audience on the other side have access to “all” of YouTube’s content if they have a device and an internet connection. With YouTube Red, this can change a little bit.
In summary, while Red will allow audience to have some useful perks and the creators to have high budgets which was not so plausible in advertisement – supported projects but on the other hand it will limit the number of users who will actually be able to see that content. It is nice to see YouTube move away from the sole reliance upon advertisements for its revenue. YouTube Red will remain a good option for a lot of interested people without harming the experiences of the general unpaid audience. Although, I am not sure I want YouTube to become like cable TV in the future. YouTube should remain as it is, driven by it’s passionate fan communities who do awesome stuff together by the direct relationship between the creator and the audience. Whether YouTube Red is a step towards or away from this promised land, will be a thing to watch out for.