If you love watching videos on YouTube, you might have considered subscribing to YouTube Premium. But is YouTube Premium worth it?
Let’s take a look at what YouTube Premium offers, what you should know about the service, and how to decide if it’s worthwhile for you.
1. How Much Does YouTube Premium Cost?
YouTube Premium (formerly YouTube Red) costs $11.99 per month, after a one-month free trial. If you’re sure about the service and want to commit for a year, there’s an annual plan available for $119.99. That’s two months of savings for paying upfront.
There are also two other plans available for families and students.
The Family plan for YouTube Premium costs $17.99 per month. It allows you to add up to five other people (six total members) who are at least 13 years old and live in your household so they get the same benefits. Per YouTube’s terms, these people must live at the same address as you.
If you’re a student who can provide verification (required each year), the price of the Student YouTube Premium plan is $6.99 per month instead.
Whether the cost of Premium is worth it or not depends on how many of YouTube Premium’s benefits you use. Keep this in mind as we look at them below, especially in relation to what other services like Spotify Premium and Netflix offer.
2. No Ads in YouTube Videos
YouTube Premium’s biggest selling point is that it removes advertisements from all videos on YouTube. While there are other ways to avoid ads on YouTube, they aren’t officially condoned and deprive creators of revenue. Plus, the lack of ads extends to all platforms, so even when you watch on smart TV apps, game consoles, your phone, or similar, you won’t see ads.
As it turns out, the prevalence of ad-blocking is one of the driving forces behind YouTube Premium. YouTube has long been the king of free videos, but those videos are expensive to host and stream. If people keep blocking ads, YouTube has no choice but to pursue alternative revenue models.
We know that advertisements are annoying, especially when you have to sit through a 15-second ad just to watch a 30-second YouTube clip. Want to get rid of them? YouTube Premium lets you do that in a way that helps the service stay in business and supports the creators you watch.
YouTube explains that it splits the money received from Premium subscribers among the channels that those people watch. So by watching your favorite channels with Premium, those channels are earning money that they would otherwise have to rely on ads for.
3. Full Access to YouTube Originals
Even if watching ads on YouTube doesn’t bother you, there are still a handful of other features that could justify the price of YouTube Premium. Early on, one of the major perks of YouTube Premium was access to YouTube Originals: a collection of exclusive shows made by YouTube.
However, after killing off YouTube Originals in early 2022, YouTube opened up access to most YouTube Originals for everyone. Now, free users can watch YouTube Originals content with ads, just like any other video. The company vaguely states that “only select episodes may be available for streaming at a given time,” but in our experience, the majority of Originals content is open to all.
Being a YouTube Premium member still has some perks in regards to Originals, though. In addition to ad-free access, subscribers get access to bonus content like deleted scenes and director’s cuts.
Have a look at the YouTube Originals channel to see what’s available. Some videos, marked as Premium, are only available for subscribers. Whether you’re interested in anything on offer is a different story.
4. YouTube Music Premium Is Included
A YouTube Premium subscription also includes access to YouTube Music Premium. If you’re not familiar, YouTube Music is Google’s music streaming service. It replaced Google Play Music, which was retired in late 2020.
Like Spotify and other music streaming platforms, YouTube Music is available for free. With YouTube Music Premium, you also get ad-free access, the ability to play music in the background, and the option to download music for offline listening.
YouTube Music Premium costs $9.99/month on its own, so it adds quite a bit of value to YouTube Premium. If you don’t already subscribe to Spotify, Apple Music, or similar, then you can enjoy two types of subscriptions under one umbrella.
Check out the best YouTube Music tips for more info on what it offers.
5. Video Downloads and Background Play
The above YouTube Premium benefits apply everywhere you use YouTube. But there are a few perks specifically related to watching on mobile devices.
One is that YouTube Premium allows you to download videos to your iPhone or Android phone for offline viewing. This is great for watching videos on the go if you have a limited data plan, as well as enjoying them in places with no connection, like a plane.
On YouTube’s mobile apps, you also unlock the ability to play videos in the background. Even if you switch to another app or turn your screen off, your video will continue to play. This is handy if you often listen to long YouTube videos where you only care about the audio. Keeping your screen off will preserve battery life on your phone, too.
If you have kids, you’ll be happy to know that the ad-free and offline access benefits apply to the YouTube Kids app, too.
6. YouTube Premium Is Not YouTube TV
YouTube’s paid services have similar names, so it’s easy to mix them up. We’ve noted that YouTube Premium includes YouTube Music Premium, as well as the fact that you can sign up for YouTube Music Premium separately from YouTube Premium.
However, you should know that both of these services are different from YouTube TV. YouTube TV is a TV streaming service that allows you to watch live TV channels. It includes DVR and similar features associated with TV streaming.
Paying for YouTube Premium does not give access to YouTube TV, and YouTube TV does not include YouTube Premium benefits. However, those who subscribe to YouTube TV do get full access to YouTube Originals, as discussed above.
There’s one other YouTube subscription separate from Premium: channel memberships. These allow you to directly support a channel and gain a few benefits in the process. However, YouTube channel membership benefits do not include removing ads on a channel.
7. YouTube Premium Isn’t Necessary
YouTube Premium has been around for years, and it hasn’t really changed anything about the way YouTube works. If you aren’t interested in paying, you can still enjoy videos from your favorite channels as usual.
The top benefit of YouTube Premium is certainly removing all the ads. If you watch YouTube regularly, it could be worth the cost for this reason alone. You might also be interested in signing up for one month and then canceling if you want to catch up on your Watch Later list offline during a trip or flight. And as mentioned, getting YouTube Music Premium is a nice deal if you don’t already use a premium music service.
Otherwise, there’s not much of a draw to YouTube Premium. The Originals kube is dead and most shows don’t require a subscription to watch, if you even care about any of them. Cobra Kai, arguably the biggest YouTube Original, is now on Netflix.
For roughly the same price, a mid-tier Netflix subscription provides far higher-quality shows and movies than YouTube Originals offers. Amazon Prime, which is roughly $12/month when paid annually, includes access to Prime Video, Prime Music, free shipping, and more benefits. That makes YouTube Premium look a lot less attractive in comparison.
There’s also an argument that supporting YouTube Premium, at least during the time of Originals, helped YouTube take control of content that’s traditionally user-generated. That’s what YouTube was all about in the first place, so a lot of people refused to join Premium for this reason.
Should You Join YouTube Premium?
The truth is that YouTube Premium is a mixed bag that will only appeal to certain people. If ads don’t bother you, you don’t need Premium. Unless you have lots of interest in checking out the YouTube Originals catalog, Premium isn’t worth it. And if you don’t use YouTube’s mobile apps often, you won’t appreciate all the Premium benefits.
But if you want to get rid of YouTube ads and would use YouTube Music Premium regularly, then YouTube Premium is a good value. Whether you join the service or not, you can make use of handy YouTube tips to get more from the service.
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