YouTube has a lot of responsibility for a 10-year-old. Five days ago it helped me magnetize a screw driver. That may not be an important life-skill on the grand scale of things, but I needed a magnetized screw driver to rewire my hanging lamp . . . the one that had burned through a wire, sparked, and spit out a screw the night before.
When YouTube was one year old it was sold to Google and the two of them have grown at warp speed.This week’s big change is that Google is starting a paid YouTube subscription service, YouTube Red. Here’s how I understand it . . .
1) “Regular old YouTube” will still exist. You will be able to watch all your favorite shows and they will carry ads just like they do now.
2) You have the option of paying $9.99 a month to be able to watch all videos without ads along with some other perks like being able to download them to your devices. I’m still not clear about whether this download will be permanent or temporary.
SOME EARLY, RANDOM THOUGHTS ABOUT YOUTUBE RED
At first I was concerned about this news because Google’s explanation to content creators (people like me) was so obscure that I was worried that my channel was going to “go private.” This is when I cried in frustration . . . when I was trying to find out what I had to do, if anything, to keep my channel up and running. I’m a very good reader. Google needs to hire some retired English teachers, the kind who know how to wield a red pen, to help wring some sense out of their “help” articles.
Lots of people (lots) have started using their iPhones and other “mobile devices” to access YouTube over the past few years. As of May, 2015, “YouTube’s users are up by more than 40 percent, while its mobile growth has surged to more than 80 percent year-over-year.” Ads suck up buckets of bandwidth and that bogs down your device and is frustrating and you didn’t ask for the dumb ads in the first place. Especially the creepy ones that follow you around offering you things you just looked up at Home Depot.
GOOGLE AND APPLE ARE HAVING A FOOD FIGHT
Google makes its money from those creepy ads. Mountains of money. 90% of all the mountains of money it makes is from ads. Then, last month, Apple released iOS 9 and it supports ad blockers. Do you see the arm-wrestling match going on here? Apple is either out to make your mobile experience happier or out to whack Google behind the knees with a fence post. It’s probably a bit of both.
So . . . Google/YouTube is adding the new, paid option partly to make up for the loss of mountains of ad money and to give you an option besides using an ad blocker.
UH . . . WHY WOULD I PAY $10 A MONTH TO BLOCK ADS WHEN I CAN JUST USE AN AD BLOCKER?
The internet is not really “free.” And YouTube is certainly not “free.” It takes mega(giga?)watts of electricity and servers and money for YouTube to store and deliver all those “free” videos you see. So they sell advertising on them. That pays the electric bill and it gives a little bit to us creators (You will be surprised at how little. I was). If you are able and willing to support channel creators in general, you will pay the 10 bucks a month.
I live in a tiny place. I have few lamps. I have poor night vision. When my lamp sputtered and spit I had to do some things like cut off a chunk of overly-twisted wire and rewire the socket. I already knew how to do that. But getting that screw situated at the bottom of the socket would not have happened without a tall stack of books to support the lamp while I worked . . . and a magnetized screw driver. It’s a hanging lamp, remember? And I had to work going up into the lamp from below. Being able to create one from my on-hand stash of screwdrivers (I live on an island, remember?) was perfect. ERGO: I will pay the $10 a month. YouTube has saved me much time and 100s of $$s by teaching me how to do things “for free.” I want it to stick around.
So what’s your take? Are you willing to pay for YouTube? Do you think it’s a good value or a rip-off? Should everything on the internet be “free”? What does “free” mean to you anyway? I always appreciate your comments.
p.s. I agreed to allow my channel to be a part of YouTube Red because if I had said no? My channel would have “gone private.” Frankly, that “choice” felt a little heavy-handed to me.