YouTube Mobile App Update Hints At Paid Channels
Google is vastly in the market of “free.” Gmail is free. Google Calendar is free. Google Drive is free. And—up until now—YouTube has been completely free, as well.
It’s not like the company doesn’t make serious cash off of YouTube, either. Being the THIRD most-popular Web site in the world, and with more than a billion dollars in revenue since Google acquired it, there isn’t much left to be desired. The video platform makes most of its money from ads; and trust me when I say everyone is scrambling to have an ad on fancy, high-profit YouTube channels.
So WHY are they even CONSIDERING paid channels? I call BS.
Android Police, a Web site that stalks everything that has something to do with Android, found a snippet of coding not too long ago that said this:
“You can only subscribe to this paid channel on your computer.
You can only unsubscribe from this paid channel on your computer.”
I don’t know about you, but this paints a pretty clear picture for me. Android Police thinks this means that you won’t be able to subscribe to paid channels on a mobile device, just from your computer. Honestly, I don’t think there’s any other way to interpret a snippet of code like that. Some other source also said that Google has approached several channels and told them it plans to launch channels soon that cost between one and five bucks to subscribe to—depending on if you mind the sidebar ads or not (and I certainly don’t, because there’s this lovely thing called an AdBlocker).
On one hand, this sucks. Sucking money out of the people who are loyal to a particular channel (okay, maybe ‘addicted’ is a better word) is wrong in so many ways. It’s taking advantage of brand loyalty, and it’s not like we don’t have plenty of companies that already do that. In fact, I can name at least three off the top of my head that make you love them and then charge you a bundle to keep them around. Why would Google—the supreme leader of free—join the gigantic group of companies who like money more than their customers?
But on the other hand, Google—no matter how friendly it is—is a company. It isn’t here to make people giggle with free-happiness. It’s here to make money, and if that means it has to monetize a beloved video channel or two to do it, it will.
Of course, the Google knows that this will be a successful venture, too. If you choose the lowest tier (assuming there are tiers) of a buck, you still have to view ads on the sidebars. So now Google is getting your buck and ad revenue from you every time you visit the channel (which will be more often since you’re paying for it now and don’t want to waste that cash). That’s… well… that’s a lot of money. If 20,000 viewers of a 700,000 viewer base subscribe to a channel for a buck, that’s $20,000 – and ad revenue – the company didn’t have before. Apply that to hundreds of channels and Google will be metaphorically rolling in the dough.
And Google isn’t all that bad. The company is still watching our backs in many ways. Recently, the Google folks discussed keeping shows on the air that weren’t bringing in enough money but had strong, dedicated audiences. How, you ask? By offering a pay-to-view feature that brings in just enough income to keep a show running and turn a nice profit. Even if we’re paying for something, we’re still getting what we want. And that’s the same logic they have here with YouTube’s new features. Hey, they’re giving us what we want for just a few bucks. Isn’t that good enough?
Anyway, I just hope Google doesn’t try to monetize every channel or every video that goes viral. If we can manage to keep that kind of behavior in check, I think this change will be OK in the long run… even though it’s still BS. Just don’t expect me to pay for channels today that were free yesterday and we’ll still be friends tomorrow.
[Image via Shutterstock]
I want more stuff like this!