Want to skip those annoying, long, repetitive ad breaks on YouTube? Well, Google-parent Alphabet is going to need you to pay more. The YouTube Premium subscription service has had a price increase in the U.S. – it now costs $US13.99, up $US2 from before. That’s $US139.99 for an annual sub, $US20 more than it was previously.
In addition, YouTube Music is going up by $US1 to $US10.99 a month. Google made these changes without any formal announcement and the changes were first spotted by 9to5Google. The increased price comes just as the service has quietly tested out new ways to stymie ad blocker users, threatening to cut them off after watching just three videos.
For now, though, there is no increase in Australia. YouTube Premium still costs $14.99 a month.
Last October, YouTube upped the price of its family plan by $US5 a month for its largest markets, including the U.S. In that case, YouTube said the price increase was “to continue delivering great service and features,” while blaming “recent inflation.” The last time YouTube Premium raised prices was back in 2018 alongside the launch of YouTube Music. The increase is similar to recent price increases with Apple Music and Amazon Music which are now priced at $US10.99 a month.
YouTube Premium added features back in April that let users queue videos on phones and tablets and stream continuously when switching devices.
Gizmodo reached out to Google for comment, but we did not immediately hear back. Tis the season for unannounced price gouging, it seems. While services like Peacock jumped prices on its premium subscriptions, Netflix removed its cheap, ad-free option and is forcing users to either accept ads or pay $US15.50 for their “Standard” plan.
The service has been increasing the ad load as of late. The company plans to add 30-second unskippable ads to YouTube when viewed on TVs. Ads may also start appearing on videos when paused. All that being said, YouTube ads haven’t been making Google as much money as they’d want. In the company’s most recent earnings report, the company reported it had seen a drop of $US176 million in YouTube ad revenue compared to the same time last year.
In the company’s investor call, Google Chief Business Officer for YouTube Phillipp Schindler said the company saw “incremental pullback” on the money advertisers were spending on-platform.
At the same time, the company did see some increased profit through its Google Services division, which includes subscriptions like YouTube Premium and YouTube TV, and Schindler was quick to tout growth in YouTube subscriptions. The company told investors it was hoping the NFL Sunday Ticket offering would “bring new viewers to YouTube’s paid and ad-supported experiences.”
So YouTube wants to put more weight on its Premium subscribers while slapping anybody who dares try to get around ads. Google CEO Sundar Pichai said they want to “improve experiences” with how people view videos on YouTube, but it would sure be nice if the company offered more services beyond video queuing that would make the product worth $US2 more a month.
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