Thoughts on YouTube Red: YouTube’s New Subscription Service

[This article has been re-posted/edited from our old website]

A few days ago, YouTube announced that they will now offer a $9.99/month subscription service that gives users a few new tools and features for their video consumption needs. This service is called YouTube Red. Here are my thoughts!


What You Get:

An Ad-Free Experience: All YouTube users have become accustomed to the ever so intrusive advertisements that are displayed before a user can watch a video. The ads aren’t displayed every time a user watches a new video, but it certainly isn’t a rare occurrence that one will see more than one ad per browsing session. With YouTube Red, these ads will vanish from the user’s watching experience and they will be able to switch from video to video as frequently as they please without interruption.

The Ability to Download Videos for Offline Viewing: When using YouTube Red, there is now a button incorporated into the UI that will enable users to download any video they please in the quality of their choice. Choice of quality is important considering videos take up a large amount of space, especially in HD+ quality. Users must be aware of this now that expandable storage on mobile handsets has been abolished by many of the top manufacturers.

Background Play: For standard YouTube users, exiting the app while a video is playing causes the video to pause and can be resumed once the app is reopened. YouTube Red now offers an optional multi-tasking feature where if a user exits the app and opens another, the video will continue to play in the background. The video itself will not be visible from other apps, but the audio will continue to play.

Is it Worth $9.99 per Month?

To put it simply: YouTube Red by itself is not. The new features that come with the service are definitely useful features and will probably run very smoothly once the service is released. However, it just isn’t worth $9.99 per month. There are numerous third party apps that offer the ability to download YouTube videos and stream them in the background, even on IOS. There are certainly performance and quality sacrifices that come with the use of the free apps, but they aren’t deal breakers, in my opinion. Once you have used YouTube for a few weeks, you learn to tolerate the advertisements and interruptions, many of which aren’t more than a minute long. BUT YouTube Red comes with a subscription to Google Play Music and visa-versa. With that, this gives YouTube Red (and therefore Google Play Music) better value over music streaming competitors such as Spotify which is also $9.99 per month. If a user is in the market for a subscription music service, the addition of YouTube Red makes Google Play Music a viable option, especially for Android users. However, for my usage, purchasing YouTube Red in addition to a separate music streaming service is redundant.

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