What’s the point of YouTube Premium – is it worth paying?

What's the point of YouTube Premium

YouTube Premium is a paid subscription that empowers the average user and makes watching videos more comfortable. With it, you can:

  • Turn off ads in clips;
  • View videos in the background (with the screen off);
  • Save videos to your phone so you can watch them without an Internet connection;
  • Includes a premium subscription to YouTube Music Premium;
  • Gives you access to the YouTube Originals movie service.

Google officially launched YouTube Premium in Russia and 16 other countries on June 18, 2018. However, an active discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of the service in the online community actually began almost two months before – on May 22, when another paid subscription to everyone’s favorite YouTube was soft-launched. There was a lot of controversy around the launch of Google’s next brand – a lot of people just didn’t understand why they needed it when they had YouTube Red.

Today (at the time of this writing, two years have passed since the soft launch of YouTube Premium) everything has fallen into place. Most users “suspect” that the main purpose of Premium is to get rid of ads before and while watching YouTube videos. However, these are not all the features of the subscription: for example, it opens full access to the music streaming service YouTube Music, which has just replaced Play Music. Without spending too much money on advertising, you can get views, likes and subscribers to your YouTube channel through I myself have been using YouTube Premium for at least six months, and I have a lot to say about it – especially in the realities of the Russian-speaking Internet space.

Features of the YouTube Premium paid subscription

We need to start with how much it all costs. In the U.S., YouTube Premium actually costs $11.99 a month. It’s hard to call that kind of cost humane, and I myself would hardly subscribe to all that, given the number of other services you have to pay for. Nevertheless, about 199 rubles per month for YouTube Premium in Russian realities (299 rubles for a family subscription and 125 rubles for a student subscription), in principle, is worth a significant reduction in advertising on the site, which has replaced traditional television for many. What is interesting, not everyone understands what is included in this couple of hundred “wooden”. Explanation:

Ad-free video playback. YouTube Premium completely disables Google’s content monetization system. The streaming video service stops showing annoying videos with strange offers before and during video playback.

This is the main feature of the service. It works especially well on mobile devices and TVs. On computers, almost all of the promoted content that pops up before and during the videos can be turned off with the same blockers that extinguish it on normal sites. But on other gadgets, it’s almost impossible to do this without a subscription. It works especially well with those videos whose authors are blatantly greedy. It’s no secret that in Russian-speaking countries, YouTube’s built-in monetization doesn’t make a lot of money. But some are trying to squeeze everything out of it. Quick service will allow you to buy likes on YouTube videos without too much effort. All you need is a link.

Background playback of content. A subscription allows you to listen to YouTube videos instead of watching them. At first glance, it seems like a complete nonsense. But practically speaking, a lot of videos are actually listen-only, and that makes YouTube a great podcast platform.

Downloading videos for offline viewing. Yes, some unofficial mobile clients for YouTube allow you to upload clips for viewing without the internet and without a Premium subscription. However, to do this officially and without inarticulate additional software, you will have to pay.

Full access to YouTube Music. You have to pay 169 rubles separately for it. However, it’s easier to get it as a bundle with YouTube Premium for only 30 rubles. Even if you use another music streaming service, this one will come in handy.

Unique content in YouTube Originals. Yes, Google has had its Netflix counterpart with unique content for quite some time. However, what sets it apart is not the format of movies or TV shows, but rather shows that users have long been accustomed to from the regular YouTube version.

Google, to put it mildly, “motivates” users to subscribe to YouTube Premium, regularly slipping ads about the additional service almost before, after, and during the viewing of any video. I was frankly sick of it, so I decided to subscribe so that I wouldn’t have to see these regular offers.

Features of the YouTube Premium paid subscription

YouTube Premium subscription strengths

First of all, it does get easier to breathe without ads. There’s no arguing with that.

Secondly, only a few people pay attention to it, but YouTube is a very interesting repository for musical compositions. For example, it’s a place where they upload interesting covers and non-commercial versions of tracks that don’t end up on Apple Music or on the music streaming service from Yandex, for example. For example, I really like Noize MC’s battle track “Reprezent God”, with the help of which he won one of the notorious battles and gained real fame. It’s a pity, but there was no place for it at any full-fledged stage. I will not deal with the reasons – just a fact.

Yes, since the clips can be easily downloaded for offline listening and listening in the background, turning YouTube into a streaming service for rare tracks is a very good idea. By the way, the same applies to concert and a large number of other versions of tracks. Yes, Premium rules in that respect.

Third, for me personally, the YouTube Music streaming service was a very interesting find. No, I am by no means going to switch to it from Apple Music – the point is different. It gives you the ability to stream music to any device that has YouTube pre-installed. Yes, it can be absolutely any TV that connects to that video service. It can be the ultimate wireless home speaker, and it’s definitely worth it. I’ve used it more than once in both home and office settings.

YouTube Premium subscription strengths

Weaknesses of the Premium subscription to the YouTube platform

First, even Premium is not able to cover absolutely all of the ads that appear in YouTube videos. I wrote above about the fact that in the Russian-speaking video space, not everything is so good with the built-in monetization of the video service, which many people in the West have had enough of. Therefore, local content creators integrate enough advertising directly into the videos themselves – in the beginning, in the middle, at the end. No, sometimes they do it in the English-speaking segment, but there this phenomenon is much less common. In short, you will watch ads in any case, and with a paid Premium subscription.

Secondly, the background playback is extremely stupid – at least on iOS. When you minimize the application, the sound automatically continues. To stop it, you have to go back into the app and press the pause button – it works very unintuitively. Maybe it’s just my own personal quirk, but in my rather long-time using YouTube Premium I keep running into this problem over and over again, and it goes on and on. I think there needs to be some sort of toggle switch in the background that you can quickly toggle when you need it. I’m sure it would be much more convenient to use this feature.

Third, I think that YouTube Originals’ content is another disadvantage of the subscription. First of all, there is practically nothing in Russian – I really like Robert Downey Jr.’s show, in which he talks about globally new technologies, but it is not so comfortable to watch in English. Second, many of the clips in the originals section are not available there on exclusive rights – most often you can watch them for free, but with ads. Third, the variety of content in this section of YouTube, frankly, leaves much to be desired. Few people will be able to find anything really interesting for themselves.

It’s a complicated issue. On the one hand, YouTube Premium has enough positive moments, which will be especially liked by active users of popular streaming service. On the other hand, not everyone will want to pay for another subscription – this is just one that can easily be canceled.

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