YouTube Red is a somewhat new project by YouTube, sort of like an attempt to compete with Netflix. It’s a premium, paid service that removes ads and offers extra content produced by YouTube. It seems daunting to smaller channels, and there have been a lot of questions.
Here are the most important things to take away from this new service.
1. Red doesn’t (really) affect revenue.
One of the scariest things to a small, professional channel is losing revenue, and it’s a little unclear at first what happens when people pay to remove ads.
YouTube and some trustworthy creators have explained that a view from a Red user is worth the same as the ad revenue from one normal view. It’s not identical because the money is coming from a different source, but it’s close.
Basically, a Red user is putting their money down so they don’t have to watch ads, and that money gets distributed to channels they view.
2. Red approaches already accomplished YouTubers.
Being a part of YouTube Red is an exciting opportunity, but only YouTubers with a lot of subscribers get approached. It’s not something people apply for, either; they are the ones who reach out.
This might be good news though for a new YouTuber. Working with Red is more like working on a large scale production, one in which YouTube sets the budget and calls a lot of the shots. It’s a cool concept, but most people take to YouTube because of the creative freedom it offers.
During a podcast with H3H3, Smosh’s Ian Hecox discussed his experience with YouTube Red. He made it sound fun, but he also mentioned that it was very limiting to have someone managing his decisions.
3. Audiences won’t be distracted from YouTube’s free content.
There aren’t a ton of YouTube Red shows, and they all vary quite a bit from one another. It’s unlikely that any Red user will be so distracted by the one or two shows they actually want to watch that they will stop watching other YouTube videos.
YouTube is attractive because it offers a ton of awesome content made by individuals. It’s the home of viral videos and vlogs alike, and neither of those things can be replaced by what are essentially TV shows.
If a smaller channel is trying to get its start, Red isn’t going to cast a shadow over that. At this stage, Red itself is too small to dominate YouTube.
The big takeaway is YouTube Red, as awesome as it is, can be more or less ignored by anyone who doesn’t understand it. It won’t steal money or views from smaller channels, and it won’t hassle YouTubers to join if they aren’t already successful. Don’t let Red dissuade you from doing your thing.
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Gabriel Dufurrena is a mathematician, writer, and educator living in Oakland, CA. When he’s not watching YouTube videos or teaching math, he’s getting into shenanigans with his other writer friends.