YouTube is throwing itself in the “pay for play” movement with its new platform – YouTube Red. YouTube is now the latest website to offer subscription-based content to their customers. YouTube Red is a service available for $9.99 per month to access even more content and other features exclusive to YouTube Red Subscribers. Some features include access to content offline, original shows and movies, and uninterrupted viewing – meaning no more ads popping up. Lilly Singh’s movie, A Trip to Unicorn Island, and PewDiePie’s show “Scare PewDiePie” will be, along with others, the first original content YouTube will exclusively hold for subscribers. YouTube has been the place to find free content since its origin in 2005 but now 11 years later things are changing.
Viewers have reacted both positively and negatively to the new subscription based service and YouTube Red is bringing out the activists in some fans. A fan in the United Kingdom started a petition on Change.Org to stop YouTube Red from continuing saying that “Youtube is a place where people can go for sanctuary and yet Youtube is taking this away by making people pay [to] block ads.” With over 19,000 supporters, the question of the logic behind going from a free content platform to a partially free platform is brought up. Destinee Day, Coordinator of College Image Production and Creative Student Media at Molloy College, says she “will wait out and see if the original content is worth it to pay for. I am not going to spend my money just to block ads.” In an article released by Vanity Fair, YouTube content is referred to as “free garbage” and the only reason for watching this garbage is because of the fact that is it free. Adding to the question of if adding subscription based content was a smart idea or not.
Critics are everywhere, especially on the Internet but there are some who believe that YouTube Red is just the next step for YouTube as a company. “That is just the way content on–demand is going. I think they [YouTube] are just trying to stay with the times,” says Frankie Oliver, Coordinator of College Image Production and Creative Student Media at Molloy College, in response to YouTube trying to compete with other on-demand content on websites such as Hulu or Netflix. With the growing market of streaming and on-demand service providers, it is understandable why YouTube is making its way into the race. YouTube is a corporation just like any other, the goal in the end is to make money – YouTube Red is just the medium to do so.
With content at our fingertips at any moment, the market for ways to receive that content are ever-growing and evolving. Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime and now YouTube are in the running to create platforms that provide the content people want to watch at the instance they want to watch it. YouTube Red is just the beginning – bringing online content and music to people willing to shell out a little less than $10 for the benefits of no advertisements and exclusive content. The questions to be asked will be whether or not these subscription based platforms will last and who will be the next to jump in the game?