Seeing Red: YouTube’s New Premium Service and it’s Impact on Creators

Nov 2, 2015 | Social

The world’s most popular video hosting website is making headlines once again. YouTube is shaking up their website by introducing YouTube Red, a premium service promising to provide users with ad-free content, the ability to save videos for offline use, background play, and access to Google Play Music, all for the price $9.99 a month.

In theory, this is a great idea. YouTube is one of the world’s most popular websites and has become a haven of incredibly popular and polarizing content that generates millions of clicks a day. The thought of not having to sit through repetitive ads while still supporting content creators. And with the extra benefits of saving offline videos and access to Google Play Music, YouTube Red seems like an awesome deal. However, there is a shadier nature to YouTube’s dealings. In what seems like a complete strong-arming tactic, YouTube made any videos made by creators who did not switch over to YouTube Red private, essentially forcing creators to switch over if they wanted their videos to be seen. While the vast majority of content is still on YouTube, some channels like ESPN to go private due to contractual obligations forcing their content off subscription based services.

Despite the rumblings of controversy from creators and users, one of YouTube’s biggest stars has come out in support of YouTube Red. Felix Kjellberg, aka, PewDiePie, a famous gamer who became the most followed creator in all of YouTube because of his “Let’s Play” videos, came out in support of YouTube Red as a way to counteract AdBlock. “…YouTubers lose about 40% of their ad income. Personally, I’m ok with if you use AdBlock on my videos. Ads are annoying, I get it, and I’m not here to complain about that. But for smaller channels, this number can be devastating.”

While I’m not a fan of PewDiePie’s channel, what he said was incredibly enlightening. I myself have been a huge proponent for AdBlock, not realizing the overall effect I was having on some of the content creators that rely on those ads so they can afford to do what they love. What YouTube Red is striving to do is to incentivize creators by making sure they are being paid to focus on their creativity, and I’m all for that.