YouTube, the first name in mind when it comes to online video upload and sharing, has certainly come a long way since its introduction over a decade ago. From short snippets to full-length movies, from free membership to subscription-based streaming options, the platform has evolved with the times, often with varying degrees of success. A good example is their paid subscription model YouTube Red, launched in 2015 and rebranded as YouTube Premium last June. But mere months later its future has been cast in doubt as the company announced a new shift in their marketing that makes it somewhat redundant.
Business Insider reports that YouTube is planning to make its original streaming content, or at least some of them, to be viewable for free with inserted ads by users, starting anytime from 2019 to 2020. This was announced by YouTube’s parent company Google this Tuesday, November 27, in a bid to drum up more viewers for their exclusive paid-subscription programming, which includes a number of sci-fi dramas and reality shows. In effect, the only reason for getting a YouTube Premium account would be to be able to watch this content without constant ad breaks, as with the free video uploads.
Launched three years ago in some 29 countries, the YouTube Premium subscription service has been involved in a free-for-all with other streaming services such as Hulu and Netflix, to name a few. While some of its exclusive originals have managed to gain a following, YouTube feels they could do with further increasing interest in their shows among the international viewer base on their platform. Furthermore, enabling non-subscribers to see their exclusives is said to allow them some greater flexibility in how to market their programs. Analysts however feel that this would only drive more Premium subscribers to discontinue the $12-monthly Premium service by that point.
The current YouTube Premium subscription service has two major selling points, the YouTube Originals exclusive content and the Spotify expy YouTube Music. The music library is extensive enough, and among the Originals that have garnered positive reviews is “Cobra Kai”, the popular sequel series to the iconic 1980s “Karate Kid” film franchise. These originals, that have started streaming on YouTube Premium before the 2019-20 schedule for when the platform will make its newer exclusives viewable with ads, are guaranteed to remain behind the $12 monthly pay wall, according to YouTube.
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