No, YouTube, I will not subscribe to Premium

YouTube on the smartphone, photo 18

Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

I am a working mom with an 11 month old baby. What picture does that paint for you? That of a person who has little to no time to spare? Well you are right. I’m in deep right now, and I’m sure there are plenty of other people, parents or not, who can sympathize with an absolute lack of free time. You know what I’m talking about – those precious few minutes a day to just sit back and watch a YouTube video or two. Thanks to Google’s aggressive YouTube Premium push, those moments no longer exist for me, and I’m not alone.

For me, YouTube has always been more of a resource than a habit.

Where I live, YouTube Premium launched back in 2019. While the prospect of paying to watch YouTube videos without ads was alluring to many around me, the subscription service failed to win me over. It wasn’t the lack of quality content to watch on YouTube; It’s just that I was never an avid Tuber to begin with.

For me, the platform has always been more of a resource than a habit. I only go there for specific content and nothing more. Unlike die-hard YouTube consumers, I don’t subscribe to multiple channels and follow every single video they post. Paying to remove ads, watch YouTube in the background, or use the multitude of other features that a YouTube Premium subscription offers didn’t really make much sense to me. Little did I know YouTube wouldn’t leave me alone.

Pop! go my heart

Fast forward to 2022 and I can’t open YouTube without getting an annoying popup asking me to subscribe to Premium. Before I even begin my five minutes of streaming, I’m constantly being urged to sign up for the free 1-month premium trial. I press skip and watch a video. God forbid I switch apps midway, and there it is again, another popup asking me to go Premium if I want to keep watching the video in the background.

No, YouTube, I will never sign up for Premium. I wish that was an option I could tap on the popup. Because even after YouTube dismissed the thing hundreds of times, it clearly didn’t get the message.

I would rather take my video watching business elsewhere.

The stubborn, annoying YouTube Premium pop-up is unlikely to be a bug or an algorithm error. Google certainly wants to push its paid products over its free ones. Over the past year, the company has increased prices on most of its services, including Google Cloud, YouTube TV, Workspace, and more. I understand that it is Google’s prerogative to do this. It’s a business, after all, and price increases can be influenced by several factors, including rising inflation and the need to remain competitive. But there’s no excuse for YouTube’s repeated hunt to go premium. Not only is it self-destructive, as many like me close the app immediately after seeing a pop-up for the millionth time, but it’s also anti-consumer.

Do you think YouTube is pushing you to buy a premium membership?

33298 votes

If I’m a free YouTube user and have to put up with this aggressive pop-up, I’d rather take my video watching business elsewhere. However, the pop-up isn’t my only issue with YouTube at the moment. It’s also the growing number of ad-free users who are compelled to check them out.

‘Adding to the difficulties

YouTube Premium Inside app logo

Eric Zeman / Android Authority

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has noticed that YouTube has been showing more and more ads to free users over time. I’ve seen up to five or six non-skippable ads in videos that were only a few minutes long. Other users report that they endured up to 11 ads before a video! That’s quite a price for a free service.

hmm…this can happen with a specific ad format called bumper ads as they are only up to 6 seconds long. If you prefer, you can send feedback directly from YouTube using the Send Feedback tool

At this point, YouTube might as well be cable TV. While the company clarified that these clubbing ads were part of a “small” global experiment (from hell) and that it has now completed this whiplash, it’s unclear how much better the experience will be going forward.

This is not cable TV. We shouldn’t have five, six, or eleven non-skippable ads before a short video.

Yes, creators are typically required to allow ad breaks in their videos, but in 2020 YouTube changed its terms of service to introduce something known as the “right to monetize.” This allowed the company to display ads on all YouTube videos, not just those of YouTube Partner Program (YPP) members.

Do you think ads are getting out of control on YouTube?

19699 votes

Essentially, free YouTube users saw more ads everywhere, even on videos that weren’t monetized. Simultaneously non-YPP creators realized they have no control about the ads displayed on their content. Two years later, this policy change could also be the reason we see so many more ads on YouTube than ever before.

The TikTok threat

TikTok app

Adam Birney/Android Authority

If the last few years prove it, Google’s monopoly on the video streaming market is waning fast. Last year, TikTok reportedly overtook YouTube in average watch time in the US and UK. Google still has the larger platform with almost twice as many users as the Chinese streamer. However, people seem to spend more time watching TikTok videos than content on YouTube. That says something about a platform that only emerged six years ago, as opposed to YouTube’s 17th anniversary.

YouTube’s aggressive strategy throws people at the competition.

While there’s still time for a formal changing of the guard when it comes to the YouTube vs. TikTok competition, YouTube’s strategy of pushing free users to premium subscriptions could only bring more people to the competition. I know I’ve drastically reduced the time I spend watching YouTube videos.

What is your opinion? Have you gotten more ads and incessant subscription popups to pay for YouTube Premium? Have they influenced your use of the service in any way? Do let us know your thoughts in the comment section below. No, YouTube, I will not subscribe to Premium

Chris Barrese

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