Comment: YouTube Premium needs a more affordable option as ads keep getting worse

Comment: YouTube Premium needs a more affordable option as ads keep getting worse
Written by Techbot
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Ads on YouTube may be annoying at times, but they’re the lifeblood of the world’s largest video platform. But as YouTube plays with longer ads that you can’t skip and blocking users who use an ad blocker, it’s time for a discussion on a cheaper version of YouTube Premium.

In recent years, YouTube has pushed the bar further and further when it comes to ads. Where videos used to only show one or two video ads alongside banner ads on the site, it’s not uncommon now to watch a video with brief ads at the beginning and through breaks in the video itself. We’ve seen YouTube experiment with up to 10 ads in front of a video, and the platform announced just this week that 30-second ads that can’t be skipped are coming to YouTube on TVs.

While most of us think it’s too much, YouTube found another way to show ads

Watching YouTube in its default, free state, is really just not a great experience anymore; but the simple fact is that someone has to pay those bills. Hosting a platform that sees upwards of 30,000 new hours of content uploaded per hour is not cheap, and neither is supporting the millions of people creating that content.

Still, the rough state of YouTube ads has long had many up in arms, and even looking into alternative clients that block ads, or installing ad blockers that strip those ads from their viewing experience. Currently, YouTube is playing around with the idea of blocking users with those methods employed and, really, the platform is fully within its right to do so.

You shouldn’t be using an ad blocker anyway, but soon you might not have a choice

The solution for all of this should be YouTube Premium, but even that’s in a bit of a tough spot.

As it stands today, YouTube Premium comes at the cost of $12/month, or $23/month for a “Family” subscription that supports up to six total users. Premium eliminates YouTube’s ads, as well as offering ad-free YouTube Music and added features, such as enhanced bitrate and offline viewing on mobile. It’s not a bad bundle, but it’s not particularly cheap either. By comparison, in the US, you can get Disney+ ad-free for $11/month, and even Netflix’s basic tier is under $10/month.

The main problem with YouTube Premium in this case is that its core pitch is watching YouTube without ads, but that doesn’t really happen.

While an active subscription will remove ads served by YouTube, the fact is that many creators have turned to sponsor spots to help pay their bills. This means that, even if you pay YouTube monthly and have that money passed along to creators, you’re still watching ads. And it’s hard to argue that creators shouldn’t use these spots. Between the lower payouts that come from ads at times and the many viewers who end up using an ad-blocker and effectively end up robbing creators of their deserved revenue, ads integrated directly into the content can be the difference between throwing money into the void and actually making a living online.

Sponsors make many channels on YouTube feasible, so it’s hard to get mad

And while creator ads are crucial today, it’s also easy to understand the frustration that comes from paying for “ad-free YouTube” and then, well, just not getting that. After all, you don’t pay for ad-free Disney+ or Netflix and still get ads.

Personally, I strongly feel that it’s time for YouTube to find a solution, and I feel that would come from offering a more affordable version of YouTube Premium.

Offering a form of Premium between $5 and $8 per month would go a long way in easing the financial impact of someone subscribing to the service, especially if they aren’t constantly on YouTube. And there are some clear ways YouTube could cut down on Premium’s current cost. One way would be to offer a version that doesn’t do anything with YouTube Music. Another option would be to remove Premium’s additional features and just offer ad-free viewing. This gives the many people frustrated with YouTube’s ad-supported experience a way to view videos without annoying ad breaks while still supporting creators, and without feeling like they’re overpaying.

Most people using Premium probably just want no ads, making for an obvious way to cut costs

Will this happen? Almost definitely not. YouTube has clearly signaled that how it serves ads isn’t changing anytime soon, and if anything, Premium is probably just going to get more expensive. Just recently, YouTube announced that Premium’s Family plan would skyrocket up to $24/month, a $6 increase. That hasn’t happened for individual plans yet, but it seems completely within the realm of possibility that it could happen.

And, really, it’s unlikely anything will change simply on the fact that YouTube has all of the power here. While there are some efforts to compete with YouTube, such as the creator-backed Nebula, YouTube really just has a monopoly on this specific part of streaming, and as such, can do what it deems necessary to make the business make sense. Realistically, where are you gonna go?

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