I am a huge YouTube lover and am clearly not alone; recent figures suggesting there are 4 billion videos viewed everyday, with more than 500 million unique visitors every month.
Impressive stuff. But there is something that has somewhat started to “bug” me more and more about the web’s most popular video site - the adverts.
At the heart of any successful business is a core competency. YouTube “does” video. Well a platform to host, organise and share such. So why are they, or rather Google, intent on plastering the site with so many different adverts that it is becoming a more and more unfriendly place to visit?
I accept they are a business and have to make money.
I accept that the site needs to be monetised.
I also accept that this model appears to be effective.
However, there comes a point where too much is “too much” and there is a fine line between acceptably useable and just downright annoying.
Although true and accurate data on YouTube is hard to come by, analysts predict revenues in 2012 are to exceed $1bn (£630bn approx.) and it appears YouTube have no signs of halting this current model of adverts at every possible opportunity.
Thus - and welcome to the point of this post - YouTube as a service has now reached a stage where I would be willing to pay a small fee to use it. I’ve already purchased through Google Checkout and I have no doubt whatsoever my details have been kept and already linked to my G+ account.
So I ask you to imagine - just for one second - a YouTube subscription was available for £1.50 a month – 5p a day. It would take just 8% of current unique visitors (roughly 40 million) to generate around £720m ($1.12bn) a year in revenue – more than the 2012 predicted revenues from adverts within YouTube.
This would not impact current adverts – non-paying users would continue to enjoy YouTube videos in their current advert-full format. Furthermore, those users willing to pay for advert free content are more than likely not users who click on the adverts in the first place.
YouTube are you listening?
Furthermore, this idea is an “opt-in” and not an “opt-out” feature. For marketers, there would still be a pool of around 450 million unique visitors every month that would still be exposed to adverts.
A recent report suggests Google “only” make money from 3 billion videos a week anyway, meaning YouTube can continue to plaster your viewing experience with their ever-increasing array of advertising efforts: pre-video, mid-video video breaks, in-video text ads, animated banner ads, static banner ads, sponsored video links...
“But why should I pay for something that’s free?” I hear you cry.
A question that could equally be asked to the 1 million+ subscribers to Spotify.
At the end of the day it comes down to user preference. Why do some people choose to pay more for a seat on a flight with extra leg room?
YouTube prides itself on being a “free” platform. The more ways they manage to creatively embed adverts on the site the less the term “free” can be used and I for one would happily pay the price of a TV license for 6 weeks to enjoy advert free content for the rest of 2012.
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