When YouTube launched in 2005, it was billed as a way to disrupt the movie and TV business. It was a place where filmmakers and would be TV creators could get their start by uploading their own works. But quickly, it became the fastest way for those who didn’t have cable to watch programming. Since then the service has undergone several changes, the latest being the subscription service, YouTube Premium, which arrived last year. So how much is YouTube Premium? It’s currently $11.99, for those looking for an ad-free online video experience.
The arrival of streaming as a way to watch TV is usually dated back to 2013, and the premiere of House of Cards on Netflix. But YouTube was streaming TV for years before that, from pirate uploads of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report in 2006 to early YouTube pioneers The Gregory Brothers, whose "Autotune The News" was some of the site’s most-watched content in 2010.
But since Netflix took streaming and made it a household word, YouTube has been experimenting with different ways to get in on the subscription game. First came MusicKey in November 2014, which was streaming YouTube music videos from participating labels ad-free. That was expanded and rebranded as YouTube Red a year later in October of 2015, as ad-free access to everything in YouTube’s library.
But in 2018, YouTube updated the way it worked again. This time it split YouTube Red in two. YouTube Music would be for those who just wanted music, while YouTube Premium would have access to YouTube Originals content, and perhaps most importantly, offline access to watch programming without being connected to the internet.
This means there are now three different subscription services offered by YouTube. The first is YouTube TV, which is live streaming television, aimed at cord-cutters, which also happens to include all the YouTube Original programming along with it. That’s $49.99 a month.
But YouTube Premium is different. Unlike YouTube TV, it isn’t a host for programming one could get through cable. Instead, it’s everything that makes YouTube great, from the YouTube Creators to the music videos to YouTube Originals, all advert free and downloadable for $11.99. Another plus that’s been added recently: The YouTube Music app. It allows users to listen to audio in the background, instead of having to play videos.
Unlike YouTube TV, which is meant to compete with services like Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Video, YouTube Premium is all about the glory that is YouTube’s own ecosystem. YouTube has been encouraging artists to populate the platform since the beginning, with the ability to generate revenue since 2007. A decade on, some of these names have become mainstream, from Logan Paul to PewDiePie. But other channels like Dude Perfect and Ryan ToysReview hit the top earnings spots in 2018, despite not being widely known. And drama from YouTubers like Jeffree Star and James Charles can blow up Twitter for days. YouTube Premium gives viewers access to all these channels ad-free.
YouTube Premium is a subscription service worth considering, and a world apart from the rest of the TV standards. Currently, it is available for $11.99.
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