Thursday, 22 October 2015

Youtube Red - Will it succeed?

YouTube is planning to launch a subscription service which offers ad-free videos, exclusive videos and feature length films by well known personalities. Currently only available in the United States, YouTube Red costs $9.99 (or £6.50) a month, with people such as PewDiePie and Rooster Teeth already involved in the product.

Don't worry, the YouTubers involved will still be making their own videos, this is just something they are doing on the side. But the problem persists, and that problem is that it is unclear whether or not people will be on board with this. It would be a relatively small number of users that choose to use this service, given the existence of things like AdBlock and the inevitability that the Red-exclusive videos will end up out of Red and onto regular YouTube.

All of this is an attempt by YouTube to become like other video streaming sites such as Netflix- to not only host third-party content but to create its own, first-party, original content as well. The example used here is probably the most successful example of services with first-party content such as House of Cards and Daredevil gaining huge popularity over their releases. But Netflix started out as a paid service, whereas YouTube did not, so we will see in time whether this will work.

Currently, original content includes Scare PewDiePie, a reality adventure series where the ever popular YouTuber reacts to a variety of situations, I Am Tobuscus, a comedy about the Youtuber it is named after and Lazer Team, featuring four losers who find an alien ship with strange cargo- to name a few. They even plan to make VR headset-compatible videos as well.

As well as that though, any YouTube content can be downloaded and watched offline, and as well as that it includes access to the new music streaming service, Google Play Music, YouTube Gaming and Music as well. This shows an attempt to take on such services as Spotify Premium and Apple Music, both of which are in the same price range.

The move to a paywall model of service shows YouTube's attempt at being a traditional media company, although the chances that this will be a success all hinges on YouTube's audience- they are used to a free service, so whether or not the content provided will convince them- or their parents- to apply for a subscription is all on them.

And what does this mean for the YouTubers themselves as well? Recent controversy over YouTube Red has been over the fact that any creator who doesn't sign the Red contract will have their videos rendered private- unable to be seen. YouTubers who weren't official partners have expressed their outrage. All they know is that they've been signed up (forcefully), and will gain a majority of the revenue brought in by their videos, but don't know what they're in for. People don't like the change in the system, but who knows how that will affect the online video landscape.

Personally? I'm not interested in the shows revealed at the moment, but the offline viewing and music aspects appeal to me. But I'm not going to invest in it for now, not because it's not available but because it still has some stuff to prove, and hopefully it helps the creators instead of hindering them.

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