Thursday, October 22, 2015

YouTube’s Donation Bucket

YouTube is almost ready to launch its subscription service. YouTube Red is a lot less than YouTube had in mind when it started to experiment with music-oriented subscription services three years ago, but I think that is simply because the various experiments all failed. Will YouTube Red bring viewers or the music industry, scared off by years of aggressive tinkering, back to YouTube? Probably not, but that doesn’t seem to be the point. The new $10-per-month subscription offers so few extras, you could easily forget you are paying for a premium version of YouTube.

A few regular viewers might pay for YouTube Red or the forthcoming YouTube Music just to save the bandwidth that YouTube’s ads take up. Mostly, though, the subscription services seem to be meant as YouTube’s donation bucket. It’s the easy way for YouTube supporters to give Google something to help cover the cost of operating its 100,000 video servers. In return, YouTube will give you what it was going to give you anyway. For those who can spare the money, maybe that deal is fair enough.