YouTube is officially launching a subscription service after ten years of offering free content.
Last night I wrote about the multiple ways YouTube and content creators are exploiting viewers, and today’s announcement of YouTube is a prime example. The subscription service will be offered for $10/ a month and will give viewers an ad-free experience with “exclusive” content by YT’s top creators.
There are of course a few problems with this.
The biggest is that YouTube is strong holding many YouTubers into participating in this movement. According to an article posted on RedCode’s website YouTube requested that users agree to the new terms of service by October 22nd or their videos would be unavailable online. As the letter says, “That outcome would be a loss for YouTube, a loss for the thriving presence you’ve built on the platform, and above all, a loss for your fans.”
The letter can be read in full below:
For years, YouTube’s fans have been telling us they want more — more choice when watching their favorite content, more ways to support their favorite creators and, above all, the option to watch their favorite videos uninterrupted.
To give fans more choice we will be launching a new ads-free version of YouTube, available to fans for a monthly fee. This service will create a new source of revenue over time that supplements your advertising revenue. That’s why an overwhelming majority of our partners — representing over 95% of YouTube watchtime — have asked for and signed up for this service.
As you heard in our previous emails, we want to ensure that fans who choose to pay for an ads-free experience can watch all the same videos that are available on the ads-supported experience. That’s why we’re asking you to update your agreement to reflect the updated terms for the ads-free service.
To accept, simply log into YouTube.com as “pakafka” from a desktop or laptop and follow the prompts by October 22nd.
If you haven’t signed by that date, your videos will no longer be available for public display or monetization in the United States. That outcome would be a loss for YouTube, a loss for the thriving presence you’ve built on the platform, and above all, a loss for your fans. We remain committed to working with you, as we always have. And of course, at any time, you can accept the updated terms which will make your videos public and monetizable again. Common FAQs can be found here.
We believe these new terms will greatly strengthen our partnership for the future. We went through a similar process three years ago when we began distributing and monetizing your content on mobile devices. Today, mobile represents over half of all watchtime and mobile revenue is up 2x in just the last year. Just as with mobile, we’re confident this latest update will excite your fans and generate a previously untapped, additional source of revenue for you.
If you have questions or encounter technical difficulties, we’re here to help: reach out to us for support here.
The YouTube Team
No shit that it would be a loss in revenue for both YouTube and the creators. This is not about fans and this certainly isn’t about more choices or content. This is about money. Clearly this isn’t fair to the content creators who simply want to make videos for their subscribers or who have no interest in belonging to a corporation. But because a select number of YouTubers rely on the website for their income they have no choice but to comply.
The exclusive content is also just as ridiculous as you might imagine.
–Scare PewDiePie: In this reality-adventure series from the creator and executive producers of The Walking Dead at Skybound Entertainment and Maker Studios, experience thrills, chills and laughter asPewDiePie encounters terrifying situations inspired by his favorite video games.
–Sing It!: From Fine Brothers Entertainment and Mandeville Films comes SING IT!, a scripted comedy that lovingly satirizes the reality singing competitions that have become a centerpiece of pop culture.
–Lazer Team: In this feature-length action-comedy from Rooster Teeth and Fullscreen Films, four small-town losers stumble upon an alien ship carrying a mysterious cargo, leading to a battle to save Earth from an all-powerful enemy.
–A Trip to Unicorn Island: From the team at Astronauts Wanted, this feature-length movie gives fans an extraordinary look inside the life and journey of Lilly Singh as she embarks on a challenging 26-city global tour where she has to remember to practice what she preaches: happiness is the only thing worth fighting for.
–Untitled Joey Graceffa project: In this all-new reality adventure series, Joey Graceffa brings together an ensemble of top YouTubers for a murder mystery they’ll never forget. They’ll form alliances to survive, but little do they know that most won’t make it out alive.
–360 Project from MatPat of Game Theory: YouTube educator and pop culture expert MatPat fromThe Game Theorists invites the audience to come along for the ride in an innovative new series and 360 VR experience. In each episode Matt explores the real-life science behind popular video games by throwing gamers into the high-stakes scenarios they play through every day, from water jetpacks to haunted pizzerias.
–Single by 30: In this romantic drama series from Wong Fu Productions and New Form Digital, two high school best friends make a promise to get married if they’re still single at 30. A decade later, with 30 quickly approaching, their attempt at upholding their vow unfolds in unexpected ways. Starring Harry Shum, Jr. and Kina Grannis.
–Untitled CollegeHumor project: Written by and starring the cast of CollegeHumor, along with special guests, this new anthology series will take a dark and comedic look at the absurdity of Internet culture.
–Fight of the Living Dead: In an unprecedented social experiment reality show from Alpine Labs, Fight of the Living Dead takes popular YouTube talent and traps them in a frighteningly realistic zombie apocalypse. They must use their instincts and gaming skills to survive as they battle the elements for the ultimate prize of survival.
–I Am Tobuscus: From the mind of Toby Turner, this scripted comedy explores the world of a self-involved YouTube creator pursuing bigger stardom. The show features original music, and satirizes the hilarious details of being an eccentric, new-age celebrity.
I don’t know about you but the Joey Graceffa murder mystery project sounds absolutely thrilling.
While I’m pretty sure we all know how this will pan out, I do think it’s a sad sign of the times that even YouTube is finding ways to charge viewers for what should be free content. What exactly is the point of a streaming service for content that can easily be uploaded to Tumblr as soon as it’s released? Also worth mentioning, this corporate spirit is in direct opposition to the creative push YouTube has given to online content for the last ten years.
Don’t subscribe to YouTube Red. This is the opposite of creativity and flagrantly disrespectful to content creators who do not want to charge viewers for their work.