Actually, it’s not quite that exciting.
This week, YouTube launched their new subscription service called YouTube Red. YouTube Red is a service which promises to remove ads and let you download videos. It also allows you to to play videos in the background on smartphones. You get all of this for the price of $9.99 a month!
Before the service launched, there were rumors about that Google is apparently going to force creators into a new YouTube contract. If content creators don’t comply, they’ll either need to remove their videos or they’ll remain private forever until they agree to the new contract. ESPN had removed their videos and opted instead to host it on their proprietary networks, presumed by some to be by force from Google. My guess is that if elements like this do exist in Google’s new contract, ESPN didn’t agree and removed their videos on their own terms. Not because they were “forced”.
Now, I understand Google is a business and they’ve claimed YouTube to be a loss (although they’ve released no actual financial data as to what they’re losing, so whether this loss is perceivable or not is up in the air). So far, what YouTube Red is doesn’t sound that bad and this isn’t the first time YouTube have tried making ends meet by offering a paid model into YouTube. Like software developer’s who openly expressed their negative feelings with Microsoft and Windows 8, it’s not what YouTube Red is that bothers me, but what it means.
But then what? The background playback is something people have been craving from the app for a while. I know, I’m one of them. By making this a paid feature, it tells me they knew how to enable it and waited to (or didn’t care to figure it out until they could) monetize it. “Well, people like this content, so let’s limit it to YouTube Red users only.”
“People like commenting, let’s limit that to YouTube Red users only.”
Now, I know I sound like a crazy guy picketing on the corner. Subscription sites have existed forever. But, YouTube is the largest website in the world. If not, it’s definitely one of them. With this trend, the internet becomes more like TV service. You have the internet, sure, but it’s pretty much useless unless you pay this website for their content. That’s the extreme I see being made possible here. Again, I know this sounds like I’m someone running down the streets shouting that we’re living in the end times, but because of the way technology is moving and because of the outcry of content creators, I don’t think I’m getting too far off track of what is going on. Besides, I like hearing myself talk, so why would I want to quit shouting anyway?