YouTube has finally announced its rumored ad-free subscription service. It’s called YouTube Red, and your $ 9.99 will get you ad-free access to YouTube’s huge catalog of videos and (surprise!) Google Play Music, too.
Starting on October 28, YouTube Red subscribers will also be able to save videos locally for offline viewing. Have a long plane flight, or stuck underground in the train? Now, you can pre-load your device with content from your favorite YouTube channels, even those found on the recently launched YouTube Gaming site.
There’s more to it than that, though. As I touched on earlier, paying for access to the world’s largest collection of user-submitted videos also grants you access to one of the world’s largest music collections: Google Play Music. This makes YouTube Red one of the better deals around if you’re a fan of both music and video. (In case you’re curious, current Google Play Music subscribers will automatically have access to YouTube Red.)
Lastly, YouTube Red gives subscribers the ability to play content in the background. Strangely, this is something that has not been possible with the YouTube app as of yet on mobile platforms. We’ve probably all tried, at some point, to multi-task while watching a YouTube video, only to have the video stop playing.
Compared to video subscription services, like Hulu and Netflix, YouTube Red only nets you access to user-submitted videos. As the video hosting company puts it, “YouTube Red benefits will not work on YouTube videos that you pay to view, such as paid channels, movie rentals, and pay-per-view purchases.” This gives the service a unique, grassroots edge against the competition, but one that wears a little dull if you’re looking to watch the latest Hollywood flicks for no additional charge.
US viewers will be able to try YouTube Red on for size with a free one-month trial when it launches October 28. As for those of you outside the US, we’ve contacted Google for details regarding its global launch and pricing details.
What are your thoughts on YouTube Red? It does not seem to be going after Hulu and Netflix users, but is it enough to tempt loyal customers away from the likes of Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music?