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"YouTube Red" Offers Premium YouTube For $9.99 a Month, $12.99 For iOS Users (arstechnica.com) 236

An anonymous reader writes: YouTube is launching a subscription plan in the U.S. called Red that combines ad-free videos, new original series and movies. The official blog post reads in part: "On October 28, we’re giving fans exactly what they want. Introducing YouTube Red -- a new membership designed to provide you with the ultimate YouTube experience. YouTube Red lets you enjoy videos across all of YouTube without ads, while also letting you save videos to watch offline on your phone or tablet and play videos in the background, all for $9.99 a month. Your membership extends across devices and anywhere you sign into YouTube, including our recently launched Gaming app and a brand new YouTube Music app we’re announcing today that will be available soon."
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"YouTube Red" Offers Premium YouTube For $9.99 a Month, $12.99 For iOS Users

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  • by jandrese ( 485 ) <kensama@vt.edu> on Wednesday October 21, 2015 @04:50PM (#50776765) Homepage Journal
    I suggest they shorten it to RedTube.
  • Fragmentation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tripleevenfall ( 1990004 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2015 @04:53PM (#50776787)

    With all the streaming services out there, it seems like the chance of getting any single service that is of very high quality will go down. Will we continue to see content split between many vendors with no place to get everything you want in one spot? Or worse, will we start to see these streaming services start trying to sign more and more exclusivity agreements for content to wall it off for people who use other services?

    IMO, the idea of another service offering streaming movies and "new original content" is not an appetizing one. It's another subscription they are asking you to maintain, and how many are cost-cutting cord-cutters supposed to maintain at once?

    • Re:Fragmentation (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 21, 2015 @05:06PM (#50776879)

      You cut the cord because you wanted a la carte pricing. Wish granted. Now you get to sleep in the wet spot.

      • by Holi ( 250190 )
        Too bad my moderation points expired yesterday. Most insightful comment yet.
      • Re:Fragmentation (Score:5, Insightful)

        by sims 2 ( 994794 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2015 @05:35PM (#50777161)

        Huh? assuming one person.
        netflix $7.99/mo
        amazon $8.25/mo
        youtube $9.99/mo
        crunchyroll $6.95/mo

        That brings me to $33.18/mo
        Still cheaper than basic cable.
        And I can watch what I want when I want AD FREE.

        Basic cable with 17 channels 11 of which are broadcast stations. Analog only.
        $35/mo

        • Re:Fragmentation (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Harlequin80 ( 1671040 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2015 @05:45PM (#50777245)

          It's not the cost I have the issue with. It is the 100 different interfaces. It's the "is this on Netflix? Hulu? HBO? Damn I can't remember."

          • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

            Roku seems to have that figured out better than the others. However I refuse to use a roku as looking at ad's on the main screen reminds me I am being screwed.

            • Tivo does it well too, but it is quite expensive.

            • The ads are minor. Especially compared to in-your-face crap like Youtube. Roku only have ads for what is available on Roku. When I point out that HBO has ads I find a horde of fans telling me that I'm wrong because it only shows ads for its own shows. So if HBO gets off the hook for ads then Roku should get off the hook, and those Roku ads are much less intrusive than HBO ads because you're so rarely on the main screen.

              However the 100 different interfaces problem applies to Roku also. There is no commo

          • It's not the cost I have the issue with. It is the 100 different interfaces. It's the "is this on Netflix? Hulu? HBO? Damn I can't remember."

            That's not 100, it's 3

          • But is that really any different than "is this on NBC? TNT? AMC? Damn I can't remember." As long as the service is supported on my player of choice, switching streaming channels is not terribly different than switching broadcast channels.
            • It is when the search & selection interface differs greatly between Hulu/Netflix/HBO.

              I like the Roku interface because it lets you cut through those distinctions and jump straight in, while also allowing you to navigate each service individually. I'm sure there are others that do the same (somebody mentioned tivo, somebody else mentioned a chromecast app).

            • It is because with cable you have a centralised interface. You can usually go to the channel guide page, select the show you want and have it record it for you, or at the very lest pop up a notice when your show is about to start. When you are in Netflix you can't see what content is on Hulu or HBO etc. So it makes everything more cumbersome.

              At the moment I have a kodi setup on ubuntu which is controlled solely by a remote control plugged into my tv. To get netflix functionality into that essentially me

            • In a way yes. Because when I had satellite, my Tivo would tell me what channels things were on. It would even track when a program moved to a different channel. The same interface applied to every single channel.

          • It's not the cost I have the issue with. It is the 100 different interfaces. It's the "is this on Netflix? Hulu? HBO? Damn I can't remember."

            The recent update to the Chromecast remote app for Android includes universal search, so you can just search there and then click on whatever comes up and it'll launch that over on your TV or whatnot. I can't really go into any more details than that because for some dumb reason (and this is sadly routinely the case, for example with the YouTube subscription service

            • Interesting. But unfortunately I am in Australia. Which means chromecast suck ass and is completely crippled to the point of being useless.

          • This is one of the hidden costs of supporting the copyright system - privatize the gains, socialize the losses. Good government, have a cookie.

          • by mjwx ( 966435 )

            It's not the cost I have the issue with. It is the 100 different interfaces. It's the "is this on Netflix? Hulu? HBO? Damn I can't remember."

            Yeah, is that on channel 9 or 10 or Fox 8 or Disney or whatever.

            Much like TV, this will be sorted out in time when someone builds a search aggregator for the various providers.

            The biggest problem they have is the fact that Hulu, HBO and others aren't offered in countries where there's a lot of people who write very good software just for fun in their spare time.

            • When there is a combined aggregator then yes the problem is solved. But it isn't the same as 9, 10, fox 8 etc as if you have foxtel you have an EPG which lets you browse all the channels you aren't having to log in to one, search, log out, log in to the second, search, log out etc etc.

              While you only have 3 or 4 it is fine. But once you start adding more and more providers it starts getting painful.

            • by AK Marc ( 707885 )

              Much like TV, this will be sorted out in time when someone builds a search aggregator for the various providers.

              Like http://www.rabbittvplus.com/ [rabbittvplus.com] ? You search for what you want. It embeds it if it can, or redirects you to the lowest-cost content provider that offers it.

        • by MobyDisk ( 75490 )

          Plus $30-50/month for the internet access itself. That brings you back to the price of premium cable.

          • by gfxguy ( 98788 )
            Not if you're going to have internet access anyway. In fact, adding functionality to the internet service you're already paying for just amortizes it more across more uses. Not that I'm taking sides on the issues, here - I still find it easier to DVR everything and rarely use my Netflix or Amazon (for movies, anyway) subscriptions... but, like too many people, I'm just paying for all of it, so I'm just a big sucker.
        • I don't know about the other services, but certainly with netflix, it's also multiple users over multiple devices, simultaneously. No extra charge for a second box.

      • We wanted ala carte pricing but did not get it. Netflix is not ala-carte. Hulu is not ala-carte. Amazon is not ala-carte. This new youtube is not ala-carte. Ala-carte means we get one show to pick, or maybe four shows at max. Then we can mix and choose. That ala-carte per show should be much cheaper than $8-10 a month. The problem with picking multiple streaming providers is that you get an enormous amount of overlap. Most of the shows on Netflix are probably on the other services as well.

        But may y

      • by KGIII ( 973947 )

        No. I cut the cord because television sucks and I never watched it so it was useless to keep around. On the other hand, I did this quite a while ago. I've only actually had television for a few short periods of my life. Well, connected television. I have a TV but I don't get any stations. I am not sure there are any available? I have one here in my hotel room but I've only turned it on twice - there wasn't anything on. I've got the internet. Why would I need TV? I've got people to help, people to talk to, a

    • Re:Fragmentation (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Old97 ( 1341297 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2015 @05:19PM (#50777005)
      Make some decisions. There isn't any video content I can't live without. There is more content available than I have the time I'm willing to allocate. So I'll prioritize and buy the content at the top of my list up to the budget - money and time - I've allocated for video content. It's not that hard.
    • How much does cable cost per month? Probably between $50 and $60 for basic, and a lot more for premium packages. Assuming you're already going to pay for internet service, that's FIVE streaming services you can sign up for and not pay more than a basic cable package. Besides which, that's on-demand and commercial-free service, so I'd consider it a superior product anyhow.

      I'm totally fine with this deal. I'm signed up for three streaming services, and it's more TV than I can realistically watch anyhow.

    • ...how many are cost-cutting cord-cutters supposed to maintain at once?

      One. Or zero. Or five. Your choice. That's what the free market is all about.

      If I didn't know better, I'd say it sounds like you're arguing against competition. If that's your thing, then just pay your money to Comcast or whoever, and ignore all the others. For myself, I'd prefer to use Netflix for now, and then if I get bored of their content, maybe try Hulu for a while, or Amazon, or maybe a couple of 'em at the same time...

      The point is that I get to choose. I won't be choosing YouTube Red unless

    • I would argue that the "ala carte" model we're ending up with (at least 6+ streaming services) isn't really ala carte, but more like buffet style. It's all you can eat, but not every buffet serves every item you want, so you have to buy multiple buffets to get a meal.

      I'd rather see them come up with per show or per movie pricing, where I pay for every episode or movie I actually watch.

      I suspect that even at the inflated Amazon (non-prime) Instant or iTunes pricing, it's getting to the point that unless you

      • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

        Buffet style is actually much more correct. I think I will call it that from now on.

        I can't ever seem to find anything on prime that I want to watch but like you I use the 2 day shipping constantly so it's easily worth it. Netflix has a much larger selection of things I like.

        I take advantage of the $1 no rush shipping credit on things I don't need in a hurry. So I usually have enough to rent a couple of movies on amazon instant every other month or so. I read through the leaving netflix selection every mont

        • Is there any particular reason you don't just rip them yourself?

          • I had around 600 or so DVDs and blurays when we switched to all digital. I ripped them myself, but it was a long and painful process! If there was some service I'd do that in a heartbeat.

            • Fair enough. I had a similar number. I ended up just having a dedicated machine that did it. Pulled the name directly from the dvd / bluray and passed it through handbrake. I would just come in, see the disk was ejected and drop the next one in....

              I don't think you will find a provider as it probably counts as commercial breaching of copy protection schemes and I would expect falls foul of any safe harbour / fair use provisions.

    • With all the streaming services out there, it seems like the chance of getting any single service that is of very high quality will go down.

      Good. We need more fragmentation, because it means more choice. The problem isn't fragmentation itself, it is the closed platforms such as Netflix. We need an open platform able to receive content from any distributor.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 21, 2015 @04:53PM (#50776791)

    I already enjoy Youtube without ads.

    • Re: That's weird... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 21, 2015 @04:59PM (#50776819)

      You are probably in for a nice surprise soon.

      • On my PC with adblock I never see youtube ads. With youtube on my TV though I do see ads. And amazingly annoying stupid ads. "You can skip this commercial in 6 seconds..." Stupid because often I can skip them before the movie trailer even gets off of the logo for production company. Some of those ads are so annoying that I just stop and don't continue and never watch the actual video itself. I'm sure I can configure some router to block all these ads but that's a hassle.

        Recently, CBS started demanding

  • $9.99?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by N1AK ( 864906 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2015 @04:56PM (#50776807) Homepage
    I have no issue with Google trying to launch a premium video service but I'm really surprised by the price point. When Netflix is $8.99 (I think in the US) and Amazon bundles its service with prime for $99 I can't imagine Google is going to be providing a service that is worth notably more than either of these quickly.
    • Netflix is actually $9.99 in the US now.

    • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

      In April 2008, the number of videos on Youtube was 83.4 million.

      Compare that to number amazon/netflix or hulu may quote. Not one of them has even 1 million....Not even combined.

      • Re:$9.99?! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Dutch Gun ( 899105 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2015 @05:20PM (#50777019)

        Apples and oranges. Not all videos are created equal. Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu have full TV shows (entire series) and movies. Youtube has a bunch of user content I mostly don't give a crap about.

        I currently subscribe to three different streaming services (in lieu of cable), so I'm not averse to paying for content. It just feels like they'll need an awful lot of premium content to catch up to the other services for that price point.

        • by lgw ( 121541 )

          Apples and oranges. Not all videos are created equal. Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu have full TV shows (entire series) and movies. Youtube has a bunch of user content I mostly don't give a crap about.

          I spend enough time watching stupid user content on YouTube that I wouldn't mind paying a subscription, but not at $10/month! There's just less content there, and less quality. At $5/month, it would be appleaing.

      • So? 83.3 million of those Youtube videos are garbage that aren't worth watching.

  • by turkeydance ( 1266624 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2015 @04:59PM (#50776823)
    pay us...no ads...well, until we change our minds.
  • by laie_techie ( 883464 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2015 @05:06PM (#50776877)

    Your membership extends across devices and anywhere you sign into YouTube

    If that's the case, why do they charge more if you use iOS devices?

    • by ADRA ( 37398 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2015 @05:11PM (#50776927)

      Because clearly:
        1. Apple takes a cut of recurring revenues, so YouTube passes the cost on to the consumer
        2. YouTube thinks Apple people are sheep who will surely pay extra for the same thing everyone else pays less for
        3. All of the above

    • by ustolemyname ( 1301665 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2015 @05:11PM (#50776935)

      It's only more of you subscribe through an iOS device, as they must use Apple's built in in-app purchase hooks (as opposed to other platforms where you can connect to a third party payment provider).

    • I kind of like the 30% iOS premium, if only because it makes it more visible that Apple is taking 30% off the top on services sold through their App store, which is pretty exorbitant, IMO. Google trying to pass that along to the consumer directly is kind of ballsy in that regard.

      Of course, I'm not planning on using this new service, and I don't own any iOS devices, so I have no skin in the game there.
      • by Trolan ( 42526 )

        Alas, Google takes the exact same 30% on apps and IAPs. They're just willing to eat it on their own platform for their own service.

        https://support.google.com/goo... [google.com]

        "For applications and in-app products that you sell on Google Play, the transaction fee is equivalent to 30% of the price."

        Everything loves jumping on Apple for the 30%, but misses that it's the norm.

        • by Phil Urich ( 841393 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2015 @06:26PM (#50777579) Journal

          Alas, Google takes the exact same 30% on apps and IAPs.

          Well, that's kindof true; note the exact wording though, "applications and in-app products that you sell on Google Play". If an app uses a non-Google Play mechanism for in-app purchases, it doesn't apply, and unlike Apple they don't (last time I checked) have a policy for their app store against publishing apps that offer non-"official" methods of IAP. Apple does have such a policy, though, so app developers can't opt out of the 30% overhead.

          This is why the Android Kindle app allows purchasing directly within the app, but on iOS you have to use the web browser to buy books. Amazon isn't willing to pay a 30% overhead, and on Android they can choose to forgo the provided APIs and use their own infrastructure for purchasing within apps, but they can't on iOS.

    • by Trolan ( 42526 )

      Because they want to stick it to Apple. Whereas Netflix opted to eat the 30%, Google would rather recoup it. Additionally, whoever wrote the article is being a little disingenuous, since Google takes the same 30% on app and IAP sales. They can just ignore that for Red as it's their store, their service.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 21, 2015 @05:08PM (#50776901)

    youtube red... redtube

    Nah, no one is going to mistype it and get a surprise.

  • by vivaoporto ( 1064484 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2015 @05:27PM (#50777087)
    A better headline (and interestingly missing from ./ summary) comes from techcrunch: YouTube Will Completely Remove Videos Of Creators Who Don't Sign Its Red Subscription Deal [techcrunch.com]

    YouTube made its top video creators an offer they literally couldn't refuse, or they'd have their content disappear. Today YouTube confirmed that any "partner" creator who earns a cut of ad revenue but doesn't agree to sign its revenue share deal for its new YouTube Red $9.99 ad-free subscription will have their videos hidden from public view on both the ad-supported and ad-free tiers. That includes videos by popular comedians, musicians, game commentators, and DIY instructors.

    It's a tough pill to swallow that makes YouTube look like a bully. Though turning existing fans into paid subscribers instead of free viewers could earn creators more than the ad revenue, forcing them into the deal seems heavy-handed.

    Google says the goal is to offer consistency, so people thinking about subscribing to Red don't have to worry about their favorite content not being available in the ad-free service. But there's no explanation why it couldn't just flag videos of those who don't sign the deal as "Not On Red", and instead had to go with a sign-or-disappear strategy.

    According to Chief Business Officer Robert Kyncl at today's YouTube Red launch event, 99% of content consumed on YouTube will be still available, noting that the vast majority of creators signed the deal. But they didn't have much choice, otherwise they'd lose out on both the previous ad revenue, the new subscription revenue, and the connection with fans.

    • A better headline (and interestingly missing from ./ summary) comes from techcrunch: YouTube Will Completely Remove Videos Of Creators Who Don't Sign Its Red Subscription Deal

      Did this "offer" go out to just the YT partners that make a LOT of money? I have a monetized channel but never received this notice...nor anyone else so far that I know that has monetized their YouTube channel.....

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      From Techcrunch:

      But there's no explanation why it couldn't just flag videos of those who don't sign the deal as "Not On Red", and instead had to go with a sign-or-disappear strategy.

      Really? They expect Google to sell YouTube Red as the ad-free* version of YouTube only to have paying subscribers find that their favorite channel opted out? I'd be totally pissed if this was only 50% or 80% of YouTube because it would feel like Google was double-dipping by charging you a subscription and showing ads at the same time, it's not like you'd get a rebate watching non-Red videos. It's like learning that your all-you-can-eat buffet is actually only half of what's on the table and

      • Agree, but removing the videos seems excessive. If they opt not to sign up for the Red model, they could just be moved into the same category as the average person's cat videos, where Google put their own ads around it and you get no cut.

        However, I imagine this might be contractually difficult for the same reason they can't automatically put everyone on Red deals.

      • Really? They expect Google to sell YouTube Red as the ad-free* version of YouTube only to have paying subscribers find that their favorite channel opted out?

        Um... I think he meant that paying subscribers would see no ads, but non-payers would see the ads as normal.

        I can tolerate ads on YouTube because I can ignore them, but it's never been worth that much to me.

        The signal to noise ratio is very low, and on top of that you will have to deal with Google's tracking and harvesting your information.

        For $10 a month I can do without YouTube.

    • by gnupun ( 752725 )

      It's a tough pill to swallow that makes YouTube look like a bully.

      So are these "partners" going to see 1 cent from this $9.99 subscription plans? It's not clear from the post...

  • by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2015 @05:36PM (#50777163)

    >> YouTube to launch TubeRed, not to be confused with RedTube

    My only two thoughts are 1) Are we celebrating April Fools' Day early? and 2) Or is Yahoo's CEO now running YouTube?

    Either way, this is dumb and funny on many levels.

  • Offline video, background playback, and music/audio only are features that are relatively trivial and are frequently implemented by third party YouTube players. It seems they are launching this in a poor way by even including these as "features."
  • by Kneo24 ( 688412 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2015 @05:49PM (#50777283) Homepage
    So they're essentially going back to Youtubes roots, just that they're charging for it.
  • The videos I watch are the amateur productions of interesting stuff. Professionally produced videos that have ads always seem to be clickbait fluff anyway.
  • by Merk42 ( 1906718 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2015 @06:36PM (#50777659)
    Because the only reason you all block ads is security, right? With this model, you'll totally pay the subscription so as to not have ads, right? You wouldn't continue to keep blocking ads because the real reason you do it is because you all feel self entitled to free content and just use the security/privacy of ads as a scapegoat for your behavior, right?
    • This is youtube. It has had no worthwhile content in the past, and it's not about to start now. Youtube is free content now because that's the only thing it is worth. $10 a month is ridiculously expensive for something of such low quality and value.

      We use adblock because of security AND because we find ads annoying AND we find advertisers to be evil leeches who suck blood while contributing nothing in return (and I won't apologize for insulting your chosen profession).

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