YouTube Launches Ad-Free Service YouTube Red, Plus Agencies Weigh In

YouTube Launches Ad-Free Service YouTube Red, Plus Agencies Weigh In
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YouTube has launched its premium YouTube Red subscription service — which blocks pre-roll ads and allows subscribers to save any video for offline- in Australia. The global empire has also launched a YouTube Music app to listen to music without ads, play music videos offline, and switch between video or audio-only.

Australia is the second market to launch YouTube Red, behind the US.

For $11.99 per month, users will get ad-free access to all videos on YouTube,  can save videos to watch offline and play videos in the background on your phone or tablet. Currently when clicking out of the YouTube app on a mobile device pauses the video.

Red subscribers also get exclusive access to new original series and movies starring some YouTube creators, such as Lilly Singh and Rooster Teeth. According to a Google blog post, “By signing up to YouTube Red you’ll also be supporting your favourite YouTube creators as the majority of the membership fee goes to them, just like with YouTube advertising revenue.”

From now until June 6, YouTube Red has an introductory offer of $9.99 a month. All users can sign up for a free month-long trial. YouTube Red members will get automatic premium access to Google Play Music, so subscribe to one and automatically get access to the other for free.

Also launching today is YouTube Music, a dedicated app that utilises the huge amount of music content on the platform. According to the post, “you’ll be able to quickly re-discover your favourite music videos, tracks, artists and albums, and you’ll also see all the remixes, covers, lyric videos, and concert footage that YouTube has to offer. You’ll see your personal station with recommendations based on your tastes, and trending lists with the most popular music on YouTube each day.”

There is no mention of paid reimbursement for musicians, so expect a blog post from Taylor Swift similar to the one she wrote about Apple Music. 

The Experts Weigh In:

Daniel Robathan, General Manager and Head of Strategy at Deepend said:
“ ‘No Ads’ gets rid of an irritation but the real value comes from the utility of the service. Creating and saving a playlist offline will mean we can consume content in the manner we’ve become accustomed through other platforms. Allowing audio to continue playing even if the screen is off is pretty cool and means we can get on with other things without interrupting the experience.
“I think people who sign up for the free trial will assume they’ll get no value but quickly get used to how much better the experience is and stay subscribed. Personally I’m really interested to see how they pay the content creators as that still seems vague.”

Betsy Oyler, ‎Group Account Director at Atomic 212 said:

“The introduction of YouTube Red should be seen as a welcome challenge for marketers. If we want success for our clients, we must evolve our advertising to play the game or plan to get ahead of it. We won’t see a tidal shift in consumers moving from freemium content viewing to subscription based services overnight, but we sure better be ready for it.

“Advertisers and brands aren’t going to be left without breakfast. Cue the Content Marketing solution. Brands will increasingly explore ways of building an organic following through experiences which seamlessly integrate with the user’s preferred content, in particular native advertising. Is it harder to produce great content your audience actually wants to engage with? Yes. Is it harder to get cut-through with an arguably over saturated marketplace? Hell yes. But if we want to survive, we must evolve and bring our clients with us.

“Thankfully we are starting to see marketers and brands increasingly recognising the importance of choosing the right platform for their content marketing efforts. Expect to see more quality branded content across the big social networks like Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr., Snapchat and of course YouTube Red.”

Jared Woods, social and content director at History Will Be Kind said:

“YouTube Red’s launch into the Australian marketplace continues the trend of a fee-for-avoidance model that bypasses traditional ad buys and increases viewer time on content they’ve chosen to pursue. Spotify’s success with its similar offering clearly shows that audiences will pay to avoid ads in services which they use daily.

“Given YouTube’s huge position in the online media and search space, this move only increases the focus on producing quality content that engages audiences over time and through a voluntary exchange – their time and attention for your message and entertainment. In a world where continuous second-screening and bitesized content are the norm, it’s a move that’s going to shake up media models and force brands to continue along a path to well-funded, narrative driven and influencer-supported content models.

“Put simply, if people would rather pay to dodge your ads than to watch them for free, then something’s terribly wrong with your marketing mix. Brands and influencer partnerships already work to avoid this distaste for pure advertising saturation – and it’s a model that’s proving effective when rigorous and well-supported. With so much noise and so little time to focus, audiences clearly want to get more out of the things they genuinely want – information, entertainment, connection and relevance.”

Spotify has declined to comment on this story.

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