YouTube Red has swept the nation, igniting anger in tens of thousands of YouTubers, and the confusion in millions of viewers.
The YouTube Red program requires viewers to play $9.99 a month for exclusive access to functions of YouTube that were previously unavailable.
With YouTube Red, users can download videos, watch videos ad-free, listen to videos while the YouTube phone app runs in the background, and view exclusive content from YouTube’s biggest channels.
YouTube has signed deals with its biggest users, namely PewDiePie, The Fine Brothers, Rooster Teeth, and College Humor, to create subscriber-exclusive videos called “Youtube Originals.”
The Originals would be available for non-subscriber viewing months later, but even then the videos will contain advertisements.
Subscribers to Google’s highly successful Google Play Music program will also be signed up for the Red program automatically for free.
Because YouTube Red has launched only in the United States, international users will not have access to YouTube Red’s exclusive content and features for several months, regardless of whether or not they already have a subscription to Google Play Music.
As a result of Apple’s thirty percent tax on revenue from app store programs, users watching YouTube on iOS devices will have to play an extra three dollars a month for the subscription, making the program $12.99 a month instead of the previous $9.99.
The program has received backlash because most of these services were already available for free in the form of ad-block programs, and the other exclusive programs that have been requested for years. YouTube Red’s ad-free program is also negated by the fact that most ad-blocking programs still work on YouTube, diminishing the value of the Red program’s main selling point.
The release of the Red program does not mean YouTube is a paid-only platform. YouTube is still a free platform, but the Red program has been made to allow for people who frequently use YouTube to get more out of their use of the site. Because the platform is still free, many students say they wouldn’t pay for these exclusive features.
“Its not worth it because most of us have the attention span to stand a 30 second-long advertisement at least,” senior Jeremy Popowitz said.
“I don’t care about ad-free videos, I would still use YouTube as long as its free,” senior Mara Huberman said.
So while its viewers are not abandoning YouTube, the majority of YouTubers are up in arms against the Red Program.
Youtube Red runs on a rich-get-richer system. Channels with increased channel view time on a monthly basis will receive significantly more than smaller YouTubers or YouTubers who do not post videos often, creating an imbalance.
Channels like PewDiePie’s will be making millions more dollars on the Red program thanks to daily millions of views, whereas smaller channels will lose a large amount of their profit unless they put out more videos. Channels that post only several times or don’t post at all for a month will receive little compared to those posting one or more videos a day, as they gain more view time.
YouTubers such as famous animator EgoRaptor have been forced to host alternative content on their channels, including music videos produced by other animators.
Some channels, which post high quality videos as little as once a month, and receive millions of views, will still receive a smaller income because they will have less monthly watch time than daily channels.
While the benefits of YouTube Red are optional, the negatives will be felt by all of the website’s users