YouTube is changing things up by launching a subscription service called YouTube Red. Users can pay $9.99 a month and have access to ad-free YouTube, as well as a subscription to Google Music.
Starting next year, select YouTube creators are putting out content that is exclusive to YouTube Red. Among those are some gaming channels. The Austin, Texas-based Rooster Teeth is putting out their first feature-length film through YouTube Red. It’s called “Lazer Team,” and was produced with Fullscreen Films. YouTube has said that in planning the exclusive content for YouTube Red, they tried to bring together traditional filmmakers and YouTube’s breakout stars. Prolific Let’s Player Pewdiepie is also starring in a YouTube Red series called “Scare Pewdiepie,” which is being produced with some of the people behind “The Walking Dead” TV series.
Hollywood and YouTube don’t have a great history of mixing. Anyone remember the “Fred” movie? I… definitely don’t. YouTube stars often reach popularity through appearing genuine and, for lack of a better word, unpolished. The magic of YouTube is that it feels like you’re taking a peek into someone real life. But the exclusive content isn’t the only reason to sign up for YouTube Red.
If you subscribe to YouTube Red you will get some other benefits besides ad-free viewing and Google Music. Background play will let you listen to videos even while you’re doing other stuff on your phone. If you use YouTube to listen to music, or even as a podcast service, this will come in handy. This will be the first time that background play has been available through the YouTube app, rather than a third-party app.
You can also download videos to view offline. YouTube offers several download settings so that you can optimize video size based on what your phone can handle.
A subscription to YouTube Red works across all platforms, so a word to iOS users: don’t subscribe from your iOS device. Because of a 30% App Store fee, YouTube Red will cost $12.99 rather than $9.99. But you can subscribe on your computer for the standard $9.99 price and continue to use YouTube Red on your phone.
The launch of YouTube Red will cover the YouTube Gaming and YouTube Kids apps, as well as an upcoming app called YouTube Music. All seem to be efforts by YouTube to curate its vast ocean of content into manageable–and marketable–streams.
The user experience for unpaid YouTube users will remain the same, with one exception: YouTube partners who don’t sign on with YouTube Red’s new revenue sharing agreement will see their videos go dark in the United States.
This new revenue agreement won’t affect the vast majority of YouTubers, but those who make their living off the platform will required to sign. The reason is that YouTube’s current agreement doesn’t allow them to remove advertising from creators’ videos. To be able to sell the subscription and provide an ad-free experience, YouTube needs the video creators to agree.
Here’s a video of Hank Green explaining YouTube Red: