Google’s YouTube division is piloting a more affordable premium subscription tier for YouTube that offers ad-free viewing.
The so called Premium Lite plan is being offered on a trial basis to users to Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden.
This new trial essentially offers YouTube users a cheaper “premium” plan that does away with pesky adverts interrupting videos. However it does not offer the other options found in the full fat Premium plan, such as offline downloads or background playback.
“In Nordics and Benelux (except for Iceland), we’re testing a new offering to give users even more choice: Premium Lite costs €6.99/month (or local equivalent per month) and it includes ad-free videos on YouTube,” a YouTube spokesperson was quoted by the Verge as saying in a statement.
In comparison, YouTube’s existing Premium plan costs around 11.99 euros a month in Europe. In the UK it costs £11.99 per month.
According to the Verge, Premium Lite includes ad-free viewing across YouTube’s main app on web, iOS, Android, smart TVs, and games consoles, as well as in the YouTube Kids app.
However, it doesn’t include any YouTube Music benefits such as ad-free listening, and it doesn’t include Premium’s other features like background playback (for when a user wants to switch to another app while continuing to listen to audio from a YouTube video), or offline downloads.
But critics point out that the Premium Lite plan is really not that much cheaper at 6.99 euros than the full fat version at 11.99 euros.
Netflix Basic on the other hand costs just £5.99 in the UK, and Amazon Prime membership (which includes Prime Video) costs £7.99 per month.
As the Verge points out, YouTube Premium Lite costs around 60 percent of the price of the full fat Premium subscription, while only offering around a quarter of its benefits.
Nevertheless, YouTube remains popular because of the sheer width of material on its platform: from Call of Duty streamers, car restoration mechanics, to ASMR videos and much much more.
Earlier this week, Rick Astley’s 1987 hit “Never Gonna Give You Up” rolled up more than 1 billion hits on YouTube, as it benefitted from the ongoing popularity of an internet meme.
The video’s popularity is in part due to an internet prank called “Rickrolling”, which dates back to 2007, and involves the song or its lyrics popping up unexpectedly.
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