How much do you value your time?

Someone has to pay for entertainment. Sometimes it is the audience with ticket sales, subscription fees or purchasing prices. Sometimes it is advertisers who will subsidise the content in order to get their ads or product placement in front of fixated eyeballs. Sometimes it is a bit of both. But whichever method you choose, you still need to understand the consumer experience!

YouTube Red

How do you feel about advertising? Would you pay a subscription fee to get around a 30 second advertisement at the start of a YouTube video? That is the question which YouTube is exploring at the moment with its latest exploration into YouTube Red.

There have been increasing complaints about the YouTube model of payment. At the moment, users aren’t paying with their money, they are just paying with their time as advertisers fork over money to get their product in front of interested viewers. This service design change over the last few years has led to video watchers all over the world questioning the customer experience of YouTube.

Do they not care about their customers? Why would they make us sit through advertising before we can watch our favourite videos? Surely it only decreases the appreciation customers have for your service?

Personally, I don’t mind it. But that is probably because I work in marketing and it is a great way to instantly reach customers who already have an interest in your products and service. What has let the customer experience down is the lack of creativity from a marketing standpoint ensuring that their content properly links in with the video that people are about to watch or that the advertisement is actually created for the interactive YouTube medium (rather than simply recycling a television commercial).

So YouTube have a solution . . . YouTube Red. If you are willing to pay $10 per month, you can go back to a simpler time on YouTube when advertising never interrupted your video-watching marathons while also accessing exclusive content from popular YouTubers. A model which is surprisingly like other paid-content entertainment platforms such as Netflix – by paying a small fee you can access all your favourite shows on demand without advertisements and also get access to Netflix exclusive content not available anywhere else.

When you look at this new strategy from a customer experience standpoint, it looks pretty fantastic. Viewing experience is enhanced due to the lack of advertising. Content access increases due to the availability of new videos. And your audience feel part of an exclusive group who get special treatment (unlike all other YouTube users). And only for the small fee of $10 per month.

But there is one big barrier for customers. How much do you value your time? Is the time cost of watching advertisements before certain videos on YouTube more costly to you than paying a subscription fee of $10 a month? If it is, then YouTube Red offers a great opportunity for you to have a better viewing experience. But if it doesn’t, then the company risks alienating some of its dedicated viewers in a ransom-like situation asking for money to return the service to a previous standard.

It is an interesting dilemma to face . . . And one where there isn’t a solution to please everyone!

Will it work? I reckon it will. Netflix pulled off the same situation charging a subscription fee for content which is still free with a couple of added bonuses. But is the draw as big for YouTube Red? One of Netflix’s biggest advantages is that the freely available on demand websites aren’t anywhere near as extensive, whereas YouTube’s videos are already available on demand. If it is going to pull this off, YouTube is going to need some pretty enticing content to draw people over to the Red side. Content which makes the fear of missing out much more costly than a simple $10 per month!