YouTube (News - Alert), the world’s most popular streaming video service, announced early this week that they are bringing a new premium paid feature to their platform, dubbed YouTube Red. For $9.99 a month, customers will be able to sign up for and use YouTube Red, beginning later in October.
The number one draw of YouTube Red currently is the removal of the 15, 30, or even 60 second ads that now play before any desired video on YouTube, much to the chagrin of users. Subscribing to this premium version of YouTube removes those ads, much in the same way that there is a free version of Spotify (News - Alert) with a limited number of skips and some ad intervention and a paid version with no advertisements.
Another highly touted feature coming with YouTube Red is the new YouTube Music model. The idea behind this service is very similar to the popular internet radio station, Pandora (News - Alert). On Pandora, users can create radio stations based on bands or artists they enjoy and hear other songs that are similar. YouTube Music is the same idea: users can pick a song and receive a bountiful playlist of similar songs. To add convenience, users subscribed to YouTube Music also gain a subscription to Google (News - Alert) Play Music, so that new songs that are found can easily be added to a playlist.
While this is the “Phase One” of YouTube Red rollout, it is clear that marketers on Google have their eyes set on even bigger goals. Netflix, a popular video streaming service in its own right, began as purely a streaming service for movies and TV shows, but has recently pivoted to begin producing its own content, resulting in popular series like House of Cards, Orange (News - Alert) is the New Black, and Narcos. Google has announced that in the near future they want to follow that same plan and produce their own programming for their own service.
YouTube Red looks like an interesting attempt by Google to further monetize their immensely popular video streaming service. As long as they continue to offer more popular premium features, customers will patronize this new paid aspect of YouTube.