I wasn’t too big a fan of this whole “YouTube Red” idea to begin with. Point one: I like a lot of YouTube shows, but I don’t like them so much that I’m willing to pay for a subscription to watch them. I’d rather endure a short ad in exchange for infrequent access to the same videos. Point two: If I make a video that I would like to monetize, I now can’t do that unless I put it behind a paywall (which will never happen).
Obviously, YouTube is making a play toward its biggest content creators, doubling down on popular “partners” like PewDePie at the expense of smaller creators who use the platform to build their followings and earn a few dollars on the side. They used to be “the Great Equaliser”–democratising video content on the web from the ground up–but lately YouTube is beginning to look like any other cable monster.
The fallout from YouTube Red, its forthcoming ad-free subscription service, is already underway. Today, the majority of ESPN’s video content has been pulled off of YouTube in the US, as the sports network currently can’t participate in the YouTube Red service due to rights issues surrounding its content.