YouTube Red: what it is, and why it won’t work

It’s finally happened. Everyone’s favourite animal-doing-funny-things site YouTube has launched its first pay-to-watch model, and everyone in the world seems absolutely fuming at them for it.

Where, if not there, will you go to watch people falling over, or ‘Charlie bit my finger’?

Well, it’s not quite going to work like that, but YouTube are launching a new service called YouTube Red (more on the unfortunate naming later) which will offer special content and perks to subscribers for the equivalent of £6.50 a month. For your cash, you get ad-free videos, exclusive shows and access to Google Play, which is like another version of Spotify.

The reaction to this news has been interesting to say the least, and it seems like there may well be trouble brewing for the initiative. Here’s everything you need to know.

What is YouTube Red?

It’s basically a premium version of YouTube, which you pay monthly for. If it already sounds like it sucks, that’s because it probably does.

It’s not going to hit us all in one big push though. Instead, YouTube Red will trial in America first, starting on October 28. That said, company executives have stated that there are already plans to launch it globally, and have guessed it will happen sometime in the next year.

For your coin, if you so choose, you will receive access to Google Play, which is Google’s answer to Spotify and other popular music streaming platforms, as well as exclusive YouTube content that will be made by some of the site’s biggest performers (internet sensation PewDiePie already has a reality show in the works), and (you’re going to love this one) infinite ad-free videos. Yay.

It’s already suffering similarity issues with the name

Why would you do that

Two key components in the name YouTube Red, are the words ‘red’ and ‘tube. Which, coincidently, are also two key components in the name of an extremely popular pornographic website that, if you don’t know, is called RedTube.

It’s both hilarious and terrifying, when you think about it. Of all the words they could have chosen to follow their iconic name, and launch their neo-global streaming service, why would they chose the one word that automatically links them with a porn site in the heads of users?

Apparently, they don’t care, as company executives claimed in a Q&A with reporters that they: “Did a lot of consumer testing, so we’re comfortable with it […] we’re not bothered about that other site”.

Yes, well, if that ‘other site’ was as dangerous to our image as it is in this situation, we would definitely be ‘bothered’. The fact is, YouTube Red is aimed, primarily, at a younger audience, who could just be one unfortunate search away from being thrust into the world of adulthood. And it would all be YouTube’s fault.

Moral of the story: if it’s between long-shot subliminal connotations and ruling out any pornographic misconceptions, jut pick a different colour.

They’ve been brutal with their content providers

godfather 2

Oh yeah, YouTube define making an offer you can’t refuse, after they issued a very one-sided ultimatum to the very people who make all their popular content in the first place. Funny old world, sometimes, isn’t it?

Basically, the streaming site told video makers and indie record labels that if they didn’t sign up for YouTube Red, then they would make all of their current videos private, and hidden from public view.

The content providers have basically been forced to get involved with YouTube Red. It’s hardly a good start to a new company era, when you have to effectively threaten and coerce your ‘partners’ into getting involved.

Don’t worry, it won’t stick

Don't worry catherine tate

The only way that YouTube Red can be successful in the long term, is if viewers decide to use this new paid-for content format as their main source of entertainment.

YouTube are trying to compete with other pay-monthly entertainment services – primarily Netflix – and they will not win. Somewhere in their minds, they think that the reason PewDiePie gets all those views, is because people with money to burn watch his videos instead of enjoying films and TV series.

Obviously, they are mistaken, and we think the majority of people would rather pay for proper cinematic releases and heavyweight TV hits than some erratic guy getting scared.

Nobody in their right minds will buy the service. And if they extend the pay-monthly model to their entire website in order to force subscriptions, we can foresee a march up to Google’s headquarters with pitchforks and torches. Or everyone jumping over to Vimeo instead.

It’s going to be awesome.