YouTube Red Takes an Egalitarian Approach to Content

Despite initial rumors that the YouTube subscription model would benefit major publishers, it seems YouTube has decided to value native creators equally.

Last week YouTube finally announced its subscription program: YouTube Red. Despite there being more details on the program, some users are encountering problems before the service has even launched. Unfortunately, the issues seem to stem from reluctant large media companies, and not from native YouTube creators who were expected to resist the transition.

Much of the speculation about the subscription service centered around independent creators who were concerned their content would be paywalled against their will, or removed from the site. YouTube released an official statement as part of the service launch to dispel those fears once and for all:

And don’t worry! The free, ad-supported version of YouTube we all know and love isn’t going anywhere. You’ll still be able to enjoy YouTube, along with the YouTube Kids, Gaming and Music apps free of charge. But with YouTube Red, you’ll be able to support the people who make your favorite videos.

Still, some content has been taken down, as noted by Destructoid contributor Jed Whitaker. However, the cause may not be any sort of draconian move by YouTube, but rather obstinate publishers refusing to opt in to the program.

According to Whitaker:

Certain publishers haven’t yet agreed to YouTube Red’s terms and thus YouTube is preventing videos of their games from being played in the United States.

In fact, ESPN has been pulling videos from YouTube because of the change to the subscription model. Perhaps part of the reason for this is because of existing content distribution deals, but the company may be holding out for a better deal from YouTube, according to The Verge contributor Russell Brandom.  

What’s more, Brandom noted that YouTube Red could prove to be a boon for independent creators, since the model pays the same regardless of the size of the content creator or publisher. This kind of egalitarian approach is certainly be a progressive but welcome change among the creators.

But YouTube Red isn’t even available for access until Wednesday, so we still don’t know what the impact of the service will be on the YouTube ecosystem. Whatever the impact, the debate continues across social sites between fans and creators.

It’s possible users will just start installing adblock in greater numbers, to get the same ad free experience, but it’s equally likely viewers will embrace YouTube Red to support their favorite content creators.