Google launched October 28, as planned, its YouTube Red – subscription video, no ads – for $9.99 a month.
It will be interesting to, um, watch to see if this is really the game changer predicted or just yet another offering in the panoply of streaming a la carte video and music services for which consumers are plunking down mass quantities of dollars in the hopes of freeing themselves from cable television services.
Like any efficient crack dealer, Google is offering the first month of YouTube Red for free (to U.S. viewers). Of course, one will need to register a credit or debit card number to get the first month free and will need to remind oneself in a month review and decide to continue – or not. You know how this works: if you don’t unsubscribe your monthly subscription will begin automatically. (Note to iOs users: subscribe to the service on your laptop because, for some unexplained reason, the service costs $13 if subscribed directly from an iOS device. Go figure.)
For the $10 each month, subscribers will get unlimited ad-free videos and, beginning next year, unique and original content from already established YouTube stars like PewDiePie and many others.
“Your membership extends across devices and anywhere you sign into YouTube, including our recently launched Gaming app and a brand new YouTube Music app we’re announcing today that will be available soon,” explains the YouTube blog.
The subscription also includes YouTube’s gaming site.
So, the YouTube Music aspect is interesting, to say the least, and Google is also offering the YouTube Red subscription for free of users are already paying for a Google Play music streaming subscription. Conversely, subscribers to YouTube Red will get Google Play streaming music included in the package.
The combination of video, music video & streaming tunes will no doubt present a significant challenge to Spotify, Pandora and other music streaming services.
On the downside, while you will get to watch Disney content on YouTube Red you won’t get to watch Disney-owned ESPN content on YouTube Red. The very popular ESPN content was pulled from YouTube last week when Disney could not resolve with YouTube copyright issues.
With 1 billion active monthly users, Google stands to make some spare change with the YouTube Red subscription service (do the math) and with YouTube offering the paid service as an alternative to ad-filled videos it will be interesting too see how this shifts the consumer market – or not.