If you haven’t heard about it, YouTube Red is a new paid service that may have a big effect on your video marketing. Maybe not today and maybe not next month but someday soon. If you haven’t heard of YouTube Red, the gist is it’s a new paid service from YouTube. It costs $10 a month and the biggest benefits are it integrates YouTube Music which can be played while using other apps or with your screen off. You can save videos and songs on your smartphone to watch offline and it removes all ads.
So I know what you’re saying. Big deal. Maybe this is a hit on Spotify and their business but how is this going to affect me and my video marketing right now? And you’re right…sort of. Unless you are targeting your video advertising on music videos, this wouldn’t really have any effect on your video marketing. To be frank, so far YouTube Red isn’t compelling enough to warrant a subscription as most YouTube users have learned to live with the ads and aren’t really bothered by them. But this is just the start.
The Wall Street Journal reported YouTube is “seeking streaming rights to TV series and movies.” Acquiring the rights to full length movies and television series means that YouTube at some level is looking to compete with other subscription based services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon.
So how I see this potentially all playing out is if you’re running pre-roll ads, nothing is going to change in the immediate future. Google likes to experiment (remember Google Wave?) and this is an experiment to see if they can shift a portion of YouTube’s audience at least partially away from the ad-supported freemium model into a premium subscription model. It’s a big if. Much of its success depends on getting top shelf movies and television series to support the platform people would be willing to pay for.
Another possibility is a portion of this entertainment content they are looking to acquire could be leveraged on regular YouTube with ad content running on it. It wouldn’t be that different an advertising model than network television or even some freemium channels like Crackle. So they could offer an entire television series on YouTube Red but have a few episodes available with advertising running on it.
Six years ago I thought pre-roll video ads were a crappy idea and my opinion hasn’t really changed much since then. Particularly on short form content it really has no place. I think ultimately the goal of a solid video marketing strategy is to capture the attention of viewers who are actually looking for what you do rather than people being forced to sit through a pre-roll ad. Get people who are searching for the answers your product or service provide. Whether that’s searching online or through social channel content.
Either way YouTube Red isn’t going to have a profound effect on most company’s video marketing efforts today. But if you are doing a ton of video advertising on YouTube now, you may want to begin shifting that content’s direction to other more organic ways to grab viewers’ attention.
That’s just my opinion, but what do you think is the future of YouTube Red?