There is no doubt that the competition among streaming services is tough. With so many streaming services today and new ones coming up every other month, the battle to become the best has only turned more fierce.
What Is YouTube Premium
What is YouTube Premium?
The paid streaming service from YouTube was launched in 2014 and was originally called Music Key.
In 2015 the service was renamed to YouTube Red. From 2014 to 2015 the service only offered ad-free paid music streaming as a collaboration between YouTube and Google Play Music. In 2015, the service was upgraded to include all YouTube videos for premium members.
The service received moderate reception because its scope was limited; apparently, there were fewer takers for a music-only streaming service. That’s when Google decided to upgrade the service to YouTube Red and also include videos.
Aside from offering content from YouTube, the service also started to compete against sites such as Netflix, and Hulu by offering original content, known as YouTube Originals. The effort saw popular YouTube personalities backed by professional producers to create original content.
YouTube’s chief business officer Robert Kyncl had said at the time of YouTube Originals’ launch that YouTube stars usually made their content on a tight budget, but for paid original content it required a professional touch.
Several YouTube personalities were involved in YouTube Originals, including the most subscribed channel PewDiePie, who explained that the paid service was launched to mitigate losses because of ad-blocking on YouTube.
YouTube Premium Content and Packages
Unlike Netflix or Amazon, which have been delivering hit after hit, YouTube’s strategy has revolved more around getting bigger and more ambitious and going global, instead of delivering successful content.
The only YouTube Premium hit to talk about was the family drama-comedy Cobra Kai, an adaptation of the Karate Kid franchise (Jackie Chan’s Karate Kid was amazing!). Although YouTube has announced several projects, there hasn’t been anything to write home about.
This year, YouTube has announced that it plans to make over 50 originals in 2019, with over 20 of them foreign-language shows for regions like India, South Korea, Japan, France, Germany, and Mexico.
YouTube has also announced three Spanish shows and a new Korean documentary film. The service also said that it plans to expand to other countries by 2019, especially in regions where Netflix and Amazon are popular.
Typically, YouTube’s original shows could be categorized into three types: featuring YouTube personalities such as Joey Graceffa and Liza Koshy with shows like Escape the Night and Liza on Demand respectively; exclusive Hollywood studio shows for YouTube premium such as Cobra Kai, Impulse, Step Up: High Water and Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes on Television, On Becoming a God in Central Florida starring George Clooney and Kirsten Dunst, and an untitled series to be hosted and produced by Robert Downey Jr.; and ad-supported celebrity reality shows including What the Fit by Kevin Hart, and Will Smith: The Jump featuring Will Smith of course.
Some of the shows have been praised, but not all of them have managed to garner the kind of attention that YouTube had hoped. Because the market is already so saturated with streaming services, people usually don’t want to shift to a new service unless there’s something to hook them.
YouTube Premium is priced at $11.99 a month, while YouTube Music Premium is $9.99 (that’s higher than Spotify). However, despite all the tweaks and changes, YouTube hasn’t been able to reach the heights of Netflix. The next move? Free content.
IS YOUTUBE PREMIUM AVAILABLE IN Your COUNTRY?
At the moment, YouTube Premium, along with YouTube Music, is available in the list of countries below. It’s currently unclear whether Google intends to expand the availability of its service to other countries similar to what Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have done in the past. In case YouTube Premium isn’t available in your country yet, there’s no need to worry. All you need is a VPN to access YouTube Premium anywhere in the world.
- New Zealand
- South Korea
- United Kingdom
- United States of America
YouTube Premium for Free?
Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Disney, Sling, PlayStation Vue, and others have been dominating the streaming market. All of them want to be the numero uno. With discounts, offers, and original content, companies have been trying to attract more subscribers, and people don’t know what to choose and what to leave.
Many people have more than one subscription because the offers or the content were too hard to resist.
As we all know by now, the best content comes at a price. That is why Google’s decision to offer YouTube original content for free comes as a surprise. Yes, that’s right. Now you can watch original content on YouTube Premium for free.
If it seems too good to be true, especially because original content from other streaming services is always paid, then here’s the catch. The free service will be ad-supported. So be prepared for more data collection and annoying targeted ads while you try to watch your favorite content.
Hit or Miss?
With no hit show to hook subscribers, YouTube is falling back on the tried-and-tested formula of offering premium content for free at a price; Targeted Ads.
For instance, free members get to watch only one episode per week. Paid members get to binge-watch the entire series. However, be prepared for annoying ads on your screen, for which your data will be diligently collected and used.
Whether or not YouTube’s new premise will be successful remains to be seen. But it goes without saying that this is another of Google’s ways to feed advertisers with user data.
On the brighter side, while YouTube Premium was so long only restricted to paid members, now everyone will be able to access it. If free users end up loving a show, they can consider becoming a paid member.