One of the reasons YouTube has become one of the most popular social media platforms is because you can watch whatever you want to for free. There is so much content on YouTube that it’s no surprise that much of it is really, really stupid. But we still click and watch the stupid stuff because, hey, it doesn’t cost anything.
But now, if you really want to, you can pay Google—which owns YouTube—to keep watching all of that garbage.
So why would anyone want to pay for something they can have for free? In the case of YouTube Red, why would someone pay $9.99 a month to watch their favorite videos when, up until now, there was no charge for doing so? The answer: those annoying, ever-present ads.
Yes, it seems that there is a big enough market of people who are willing to fork over a Hamilton every month so they don’t have to wait 30, 15, or even 5 seconds while an advertisement runs. There are other benefits to YouTube Red, the monthly subscription that starts tomorrow. Among them are the ability to save a video so you can play it back later offline; enhancements for gamers; and exclusive, original content for paid subscribers only.
But really, it’s all about being able to jump to and watch your favorite music video, fail compilation, or cat video without having to sit through an ad. That brings up the question: Is it really worth $120 a year to get rid of ads?
Everyone up until now has enjoyed YouTube for free. So why would you pay for it just to save a few seconds of watching a Geico commercial? Are we as a society really that impatient now? We already pay for ad-free services like Netflix. If YouTube Red takes off, does his mark the end of Internet advertisements as we know it?
Ever since the invention of the DVR, we have rejoiced at being able to skip over TV commercial breaks. But those ad blocks lasted several minutes. YouTube ads are relatively short and painless in comparison. But the fact that YouTube Red rolls out tomorrow is proof that we still hate commercials enough as an entertainment-viewing society to be willing to fork over our hard-earned money to rid ourselves of the burden of ads.