If you watch YouTube at all, you should be paying for Red.
The content on YouTube is great, diverse and plentiful. The pretenses for consuming that content aren’t perfect, though — wading through ads and always needing a connection in order to watch are a big negative mark on what is otherwise a fantastic service. But you don’t have to deal with those issues — you just have to pay $10 per month for YouTube Red, and get an altogether improved YouTube experience that I have become so accustomed to I can never switch away from.
(And how about that Android Central YouTube channel!)
I haven’t watched a single "YouTube Original" video that’s touted as a selling point of Red, and I’d guess that for most people that special original content isn’t a driving factor in signing up for the service. Oh no, it’s mostly about the ads. Even if you aren’t binge-watching long YouTube videos from your favorite channels, I think we can all appreciate how much better a viewing experience is without ads cutting into our content — just like most people record live TV to skip ads later, I want to skip YouTube ads altogether.
Whenever I pull up YouTube on a friend’s phone or computer, or travel to a country where Red hasn’t launched yet, it’s like stepping back into some alternate reality. Wait, I have to sit here and watch an ad for the new Honda Civic (or whatever) before I watch my video? There are banner ads popping up that I have to click away every time? Long videos cut out at inopportune times for mid-roll ads? Sure this sounds a whole lot like the definition of a "first world problem," but once you get used to the clean, fast and fulfilling experience of YouTube without these distractions it becomes incredibly grating to deal with them again.
Sure I may be able to personally deal with some ads, but when I pull up YouTube on my phone to show a video to a friend, or want to send something to the big screen with Chromecast, I don’t want to sit there and show other people ads either. I just want to show them the cool video or song that I’m espousing at the moment.
And ad-free watching isn’t the only thing Red offers. I’ve been taking for granted the fact that I download YouTube videos on my phone and tablet to watch while I’m traveling, as well as using picture-in-picture video on my Oreo devices, not realizing that these are Red-exclusive features. People often think about saving Netflix movies or certain Spotify playlists before a flight, but I regularly download a handful of 10- to 20-minute YouTube videos as well.
Yes, there’s even more at play here: the same basic YouTube Red subscription includes a full Google Play Music subscription, plus background playback of music on YouTube as part of the (admittedly convoluted) "YouTube Music" service. I personally don’t listen to music on YouTube, but I do use Play Music and would be paying this same monthly amount anyway — and millions of people are paying that for other streaming music services.
If you think Netflix, Hulu or Spotify are worth about $10 per month, you should be paying for YouTube Red.
If you think Netflix, Hulu or Spotify are worth (about) $10 per month each, I don’t see how you couldn’t place the same value on removing ads, adding offline playback and enabling background play on YouTube, plus getting a full-fledged streaming music subscription on top of that. The argument is even stronger if you’re someone who spends any amount of money a month on renting movies or TV shows, which will cost you easily $10 per month.
It may be because I have had Red for so long, but I feel like YouTube doesn’t really market the subscription. Whenever YouTube comes up in a conversation with friends and family I always mention the Red subscription, and nobody I talk to even knows it exists, let alone have actually considered paying for it. Part of that also comes down to the muddy messaging around how YouTube Red is also YouTube Music but is also Google Play Music … the existence of which I still can’t justify.
But reading this, you now know what value Red offers — and it’s a fantastic deal.
April 6, 2018 at 03:02AM